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10:52am on Sunday, 13th June, 2021:
In The Queen's birthday honours list, Professor Sarah Gilbert was made a dame. Professor Gilbert invented the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, so of course she should be made a dame.
What if there hadn't been a COVID-19 outbreak, though?
She'd have done exactly the same work, preparing for a possible pandemic, but she wouldn't have been honoured. Her work was only seen fit to be honoured because there was a pandemic.
There must be dozens of other scientists who are working to prepare for possible major disasters. None of them will be honoured unless that disaster occurs. This isn't right. The government should be honouring those who are working towards ensuring the public's protection regardless of whether their particular speciality is fated to be called upon. Professor Gilbert's work would not have been usable if the pandemic had been borne by bacteria, but some other professor's work doubtless would have been. That other professor would have been honoured — even though Professor Gilbert wouldn't have done anything different to what she was doing that got her the damehood.
If people are performing a public service, then circumstances shouldn't matter. It's right that Professor Gilbert was honoured — but it's also right that the unnamed professors ready to save us from other realistically-possible disasters are also honoured.
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