When metrics go wrong: Offering everyone a booster by January

The UK Government’s aim to have a big push on booster vaccinations is really great. But their target to “offer a booster to everyone eligible by the end of January” is a terrible target. It misses out the vital importance of takeup, is an obvious setup for fiddling the target, and fundamentally fails to address what we actually care about. With luck it won’t matter, because of the clear sense of mission.

Image by Giovanna Orlando from Pixabay
Ridiculously unimaginative choice of stock imagery: model’s own
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Chart checklist

What makes a good chart? That’s perhaps too contentious a question for a simple answer. And, of course, it depends on context. So let’s do the classic science manoeuvre and replace a hard question with one that’s sort-of similar but much easier to answer:

What should we remember to think about when making a chart? I’m talking about a professional context here, not a school one – exam boards have their own requirements and you should use those, not mine, if you’re working for an exam.

So here is my chart checklist. When you’re under pressure – high stakes, short of time, or both – it’s easy to get tunnel vision and forget something. Which is, of course, the very worst time to forget something. That’s one of the reasons why a checklist that you are in the habit of always using is so valuable. If airline pilots with tens of thousands of hours of flying experience can use checklists, you can too.

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