WE are the guinea pigs in a medical experiment. On Boxing Day, quite tough rules limiting the size of gatherings will come into effect in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland while there are to be no legal limits on what the English can get up to.

Only time will tell which approach has worked best.

However, there is no doubt about the efficacy of the vaccine – an intensive care specialist in London told the papers yesterday that 90 per cent of Covid hospitalisations that he is seeing are people who have not had the vaccine.

And while we can cough and splutter at Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic, it is worth noting that the vaccination programme has been a great jabbing success. On Tuesday, a record 968,665 boosters went into arms.

While most of us are concentrating on preparing for Christmas Day, many in the health service are dedicating themselves to getting the vaccines into arms, an effort that in places like Bishop Auckland is quite literally round the clock, and which will go on well into the New Year while some of us are slumped in our armchairs full of Christmas excess.

The Government deserves praise for setting up the structures, but the real heroes are the administrators and the jabbers on the ground who we know are saving lives.

Well done, and thank you.