Matt Hancock warns vaccinated population about transmission
The Health Secretary said there is still a real danger those vaccinated against Covid could spread the virus through the population. He urged the public to continue to abide by social distancing measures.
While the coronavirus jabs stop the large majority from becoming ill from Covid, it is still possible those immunised can carry it and pass it on to others.
He said: “The responsibility for the fightback against this disease rests on all of us.
“This is true when it comes to maintaining the rules and social distancing.
“Social distancing works by denying the vaccine the social contact it needs to spread.
“Even if you have had the jab, the rules still apply.
“There’s two reasons for this: first, because the protection takes time. Your body’s immune system is only fully trained up around three weeks after your jab.
“Second, even if you have the protection yourself, we still don’t know whether you can pass coronavirus on to someone else.”
Mr Hancock added Ministers were looking at the evidence about transmission “very carefully” and vowed they would “publish information on it as soon as we have it available”.
His warning came after the latest data indicated one in nine adults across the UK have been given a coronavirus antidote.
A total of 6.6 million have been inoculated, putting Britain on track to give a dose to all of the 13 million most vulnerable by the Government’s February 15 target date.
Over-70s, care home residents and workers, and NHS staff are all included within the top four priority groups who Ministers are aiming to have vaccinated by the middle of next month.
The Health Secretary said the NHS was now injecting 250 people every minute as the immunisation programme continues to ramp up.
The number of new coronavirus cases recorded over a 24 hour period is also continuing to drop with the 22,195 positive tests registered today.
Cases have dropped by 25 percent over the past week, while hospitalisations have also dropped 22 percent over the last seven days.
With fears the increase in vaccinations coupled with the decrease in cases could lead to the public being laxer about the rules, Mr Hancock this evening urged Brits not to “ease up”.
He said: “This is not a moment to ease up.
“The success of the vaccine rollout means we cannot put this progress at risk.”
The Health Secretary was joined at tonight’s televised briefing by Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England.
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Warning the UK was “not out of this by a very long way”, she said there were three areas that clinical care was “juggling” with.
The first was the rates of infections, particularly among those aged 60 and above.
The second was needing to be “patient” about “understanding” the implementation of the vaccine programme.
Dr Harries said the third area was the winter pressures on the NHS, adding: “Alongside all of this, our health service has to deal with the increased rate of clinical admissions due to winter and cold weather.”