Carry on distancing even if you've had BOTH jabs, health chief says – to be fair to those still waiting
PEOPLE who are fully vaccinated have been urged to carry on social distancing to be fair to the rest of Britain.
A senior health official suggested the UK should not allow “privileged” immunised people greater freedoms.
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Instead, society should move forward together.
In the US, groups of fully vaccinated people can meet indoors without the need for social distancing or face masks.
This won’t be allowed for the UK until June 21 at the earliest, when all remaining social distancing rules will lift.
That's despite experts saying the risk of two-fully vaccinated people catching Covid from meeting up inside is at "one in 400,000 chance".
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also says fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing face coverings outdoors, while there are no current plans to stop mask-wearing in the UK.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), said the UK is choosing an all-together approach.
She told MPs today the Government's road map reflects "doing everything as a whole" but that in the future, "we may be able to pick out individuals".
She said: "I think the other thing is we have a slightly different cultural perspective in this country in that we tend to do everything together.
"We are trying to say that this is about the population as a whole rather than the individuals, those privileged individuals who have had two doses, being somehow able to do things that other people cannot."
Dr Ramsay told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that the US had given more second doses, which allowed them to be less cautious now.
Some 29 per cent of the US population has hd two doses compared to the UK's 25 per cent.
The UK has a policy of leaving up to 12 weeks between vaccine doses in order to save more lives, whereas other countries have stuck to a standard three weeks.
A person does not have the optimal protection against Covid until at least three weeks after their vaccine.
However, around half the British population, all under 50 years old, have not had even their first dose of a jab.
And a small proportion of older and more vulnerable people would have refused it or cannot get it due to medical reasons.
Dr Ramsay said: "There is a risk that we get a resurgence as we release restrictions – hopefully that will mainly lead to mild disease and younger people.
“But there will still be the risk that those people can potentially pass this on to older individuals who are, for whatever reason, either unable to respond to vaccine, unvaccinated or maybe if the vaccine begins to lose protection over time."
How do regions’ vaccination figures compare?
More than 47 million vaccine doses have been given in the UK so far, including more than 33.8 million first doses, and 12.2 million second doses.
In England, nearly 39.4 million doses have been given – 28.43
million first doses and 11 million second doses.
NHS England data between December 8 and April 27 gives a regional break down of jabs given:
- London: 3,533,371 first doses and 1,373,333 second doses (4,906,704 total)
- Midlands: 5,481,483 first doses and 2,088,501 second doses (7,569,984 total)
- East of England: 3,403,056 first doses and 1,371,888 second doses (4,774,944 total)
- North East and Yorkshire: 4,503,014 first and 1,839,357 second doses (6,342,371 total)
- North West: 3,608,417 first and 1,538,878 second doses (5,147,295 total)
- South East: 4,650,298 first and 1,811,833 second doses (6,462,131 total)
- South West: 3,093,957 first and 1,294,187 second doses (4,388,144 total)
It came after a PHE study revealed that Covid vaccines do stop people from passing the virus to other people, hailed by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock as “terrific”.
The key finding was that a single dose cuts the risk of catching the virus by two-thirds and onward transmission to household members by up to almost half.
But Dr Ramsay pointed out the figure was not 100 per cent.
In the committee hearing, Dr Ramsay also told MPs it was "very important" that as many people as possible are vaccinated before all restrictions are eased.
Another expert warned of a large coronavirus wave later on if “we all go completely wild”.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), warned of the risks of ignoring eerything that has been learned about social distancing in the last year.
"We need to celebrate our success with vaccines… but we also need to be cautious because we don't want to see what's happening in other parts of Europe and other parts of the world here in the UK.
"If we can carry on with the messaging that we carry on being cautious, even though we are unlocking slowly in terms of the social distancing, the mask wearing, etc, we may keep infection rates down."
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