Vaccine: Expert discusses getting second jab before 12 weeks
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Boris Johnson, accepting the nation’s impatience to get back to normality, said: “There may be some things we have to do and some extra precautions we have to take. We’re now in the final furlong and we have to look very carefully at the data.” However, promising to set out plans for “what Step Four will look like exactly” in the next few days, he added: “We’ll be wanting to…get back to life as close to it was before Covid.” Tory MPs fear mask wearing or social distancing may still be maintained in certain settings.
Sir Desmond Swayne raised concerns about the type of “extra precautions” considered.
The MP for New Forest West said: “Something along the lines of, ‘You still need to isolate if you are pinged by the app or contacted’ – that I think I could live with. But if it is a dystopian wearing of masks, I cannot bear that any longer.”
The PM made the cautious comments after declaring the nation is heading into the “final furlong” of lockdown, thanks to clear evidence that vaccinations for Covid-19 are preventing deaths from the virus.
And he raised the hopes of thousands of families by hinting having two doses of the jab could act as a “liberator” from tough travel restrictions this summer.
Boris Johnson said the latest data puts the UK on course to lift restrictions within the UK “irreversibly” on July 19 – despite a spike in Covid cases. He said: “I know that people are impatient for us to open up faster, of course.
“At the moment we’re seeing a big increase in cases… but that is not translating into a big increase in serious illness and death.
“And so it looks ever clearer that the vaccination programme, the speed of that vaccine rollout, has broken that link between infection and mortality. That’s an amazing thing. That gives us the scope, we think, on the 19th to go ahead. Cautiously, irreversibly, to go ahead.”
Ministers are hoping to scrap self-isolation for double-jabbed travellers from amber list countries a week later, from July 26.
That would open up the possibility of a getaway for families during the summer holidays.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m very confident that the double jabs will be a liberator and they will enable people to travel.
“We’ll be setting out a lot more about the details of that in the course of July – in the course of the next few days – about how we see it working.
“But there’s no doubt that once you’ve got two jabs, you are in a much better position.”
He added: “We will be going forward in the autumn with an extra vaccination programme – a booster programme, for the more vulnerable, just to give us that extra security we need.
“But certainly, for everybody who’s frustrated about travel over the summer, double jabs will be a liberator.”
However, Mr Johnson warned that travel will not return to complete normality and said that sunseekers should not expect it to be “completely hassle free”. On the home front the final step in Mr Johnson’s lockdown roadmap is expected to see the lifting of restrictions on nightclubs and large events on July 19.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s official Covid-19 figures showed a further 27,989 lab-confirmed cases in the country – the highest number of daily cases since January 29. But the death toll remained comparatively low, with another 22 people dying within 28 days of testing positive.
Latest Government figures to Wednesday showed 44,860,978 people had received their first jab, up by 141,216 on the previous day. And 33,048,199 people had been given their second dose, up by 175,749.
North-east England has overtaken the North West to record the highest rate of cases. Public Health England reported 346.4 per 100,000 people in the region in the seven days to June 27 – figures nearing those seen at the peak of the second wave.
The rate has risen from 175.3 cases in the previous week and is the highest for the region since January 10.
North-west England has the second highest regional rate, with 325.3 cases per 100,000 people – up from 244.3 in the previous week.
But rates in all regions of England are still rising.
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