The first dose of a Govt vaccine appears to reduce the chances of spreading the disease by “two-thirds”, Health Secretary Sky News was told.
One in three adults in the UK now has Govt Jab, Matt Hancock Confirmed the government’s new goal of providing a vaccine All adults in the UK at the end of July.
And he revealed the Prime Minister Boris Johnson Monday provided people with a “warning” road map to remove the UK’s current locking restrictions, giving people a “pointing sense” of how actions could be facilitated.
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If the first nine priority groups – including those over 50 – are given a govt jab by April 15, the rest of the UK adult population will be in line for vaccinations.
Mr Hancock said at the Sophie Ridge event on Sunday that the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Prevention had been asked to recommend which groups should be given priority beyond the first nine.
Asked if children should also be vaccinated, the health secretary said tests were underway to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of providing covid vaccines to young people.
“The importance of vaccinating children is that trying to prevent the spread of the disease, apparently it is one, the impact of stopping the spread of the vaccine, there is early evidence of this,” he said.
“It looks like your impact on reducing the spread of first jab disease will be reduced by two-thirds, but more evidence is needed.”
On Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister will set out his map to remove locking restrictions, including reopening schools for all students.
Mr Hancock said the government would take a “cautious but unchangeable approach” to facilitate COVID operations.
Ministers should also “give that marking feeling and a direction so that people can start planning their lives, they have all stopped, last year and of course last month or so when we are in this second national lockout”.
But the Secretary of Health said the UK should be “vigilant” against the spread of new COVID strains.
“We have a very strong awareness now because everyone who comes to the country needs to be tested and we are sorting out the results of those tests,” he said.
“We have also taken very strong measures to work with local authorities in areas where a new variation is found.
“We hit it hard and send advanced communication-tracking home and now we’re really able to get this project, really try to brand a new variant where we see it.
“There is evidence to work.”
When asked if the number of South African and Brazilian varieties in the UK was declining, Mr Hancock replied: “Yes I do, we have released data on this so everyone can see it.
“So there is evidence for that, but I want to be careful here because we need to be vigilant.
“If one of these new types does not respond to the vaccine and others – as well as the standard variant in the UK, which is the Kent variant – then, if so, it is obviously for the most serious risk vaccination program,” he said.
“We are doing a lot of work to identify the impact of the vaccine on these new types – especially those found in Brazil and South Africa – because, clearly, the answer to that question presents new types that are important in understanding how dangerous it is.
“But the good news is that the measures we are taking now seem to be working.”
The Secretary of Health later revealed that the government “still” did not believe that the COVID vaccines currently in use in the UK would be effective against all types.
“We hope the vaccine works effectively against both the old strain that has been here for some time and the so-called Kent variant, which is now the main source of infection in this country,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Mar Show.
“We are not yet convinced that the vaccine will be most effective against the South African variant and the variant first seen in Brazil.”
The Secretary of Health said there were a total of 300 cases of the South African variant in the UK, but most of these were “historical cases earlier than a month”.
“The latest information shows that there are a dozen new ones – hence the very lowest number,” he said.
“Every time we find something new, we control it.”
Mr Hancock said as the vaccine release continues in the UK, there are signs that the number of people hospitalized with COVID is “falling sharply” than it did during the first epidemics last year.
The Health Secretary added that one in three adults in the UK has now received the Govt vaccine.
Follow the live broadcast on Sky News on Monday as the Prime Minister will address the House of Commons at 3.30pm and the Downing Street press conference at 7pm