By Tony Winterburn • 06 December 2020 • 9:43
Hancock praises efforts, including his own, to combat Covid-19.
UK HEALTH SECRETARY Matt Hancock Says Covid Vaccine Will Loosen Tiers By March.
The Health Secretary has said that the vaccine jab ‘will bring forward the moment when we can get rid of these blasted restrictions’. The fast-track approval of the coronavirus vaccine means restrictions could be loosened before the end of March, said Matt Hancock.
He went on to say that he “can’t wait to scrap this tiered system altogether” and for the country to “get back to living by mutual respect and personal responsibility, not laws set in Parliament”. It marks a change in rhetoric and tone from Mr Hancock, who until now has been seen in Whitehall as one of the strongest proponents of the strictest possible measures. Asked whether the start of administering the vaccine to Britons this week could bring about a quicker end to the restrictions in the first three months of next year, Mr Hancock said: “Yes it will.”
He later said: “There’s no doubt that having the vaccine early… will bring forward the moment when we can get rid of these blasted restrictions, but until then we have got to follow them. Help is on its way.” Mr Hancock also said he was looking for “some absolutely wonderful nonagenarians to come forward and be vaccinated”. He refused to say whether he was thinking about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, both of whom are in their 90s.
The first vaccinations were being shipped to 50 locations around the UK this weekend ahead of the first inoculation on Tuesday, December 8, in all four nations of the UK, on what Mr Hancock is calling “V Day”. The Health Secretary said millions of doses of vaccine from Pfizer will be in the UK before the end of the year, while a second vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca could win approval from the UK regulator before Christmas.
The Government is now planning on vaccinating more than half of the vulnerable people who need a jab by the end of February, which could lead to a relaxation of the Covid rules when they are renewed by MPs before January 27. The mass vaccination programme will also see a large-scale Government advertising campaign, fronted by celebrities and other trusted voices, launched before Christmas, Mr Hancock said.
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