THE BOTTOM LINE
Never before have we been so aware of our friends', neighbours' and colleagues' ages. Now as the vaccine campaign makes progress and people cheerfully announce they've got an appointment for their jab, we finally have everyone worked out by age order.
Of course some may be hiding the fact that they've had their call from the health centre, but so far any past need people may have had to hide their age seems to have been abandoned.
Immunity is what's important at the moment. Whether it's the individual or the herd type, we are all longing for the day when we can say that the virus, that invisible enemy that has caused so much upheaval, can't hurt us anymore.
While we're at it though, maybe we could wish for a vaccine to immunise us against all sorts of other issues that are plaguing humanity. As we patiently wait for our turn for what promises to put an end to the crisis that struck more than a year ago, perhaps we should spare a thought for the endless other problems that can't be solved by a simple jab in the arm.
World Environment Day was celebrated earlier this month. The state of the planet, climate change, global warming - issues that were forced back from the frontline when Covid came along. But they are still there and, in this case, we can't rely on scientists in laboratories to come up with a magic formula within a few months. Raising awareness among those who could really make a difference is a much harder task.
A cartoon published on this page some time ago regretted that there was no vaccine against famine and poverty. Or rather, there was one, and it was called food. And where food is hard to find, vaccines against Covid - or other diseases we are thankfully immune to - are even more elusive.
So as we, along with our friends, neighbours and colleagues, are jabbed in the arm and prepare to rush back to our old pre-Covid lifestyles, let's hope that the life-saving formula does not make us immune to the world's unsolved problems.