Jonathan Van-Tam says vaccine rollout 'must be finished'
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But Professor Van-Tam does not expect this to be granted immediately, suggesting a vague timeline that it may be allowed “soon” but “not quite now”. It marks a significant milestone as the UK with a quarter of all adults fully vaccinated.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said meetings between people who have had two doses of the Covid vaccine were “incredibly safe”.
Under current lockdown rules, members of the public must not meet anyone indoors that they do not currently live with unless a support bubble has been formed.
Government guidelines say that meetings outdoors can occur in groups no larger than six people from a number of households or any size group from up to two households.
The Government has faced calls to allow hugs between loved ones if they have been vaccinated, following models followed by other countries such as the US which have granted more freedoms to those who have had the jab.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said Britain’s “cultural perspective” approach rather than a scientific one is intended to bind us together, although she suggested the Government was re-examining this approach.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Professor Van-Tam was asked about her comments.
He said: “If two people who both had two doses of vaccine and have both served at least 14 days after their second dose, then I would be highly confident scientifically that – if those were reputable vaccines – then indeed it would be incredibly safe for those two people to meet.”
Professor Van-Tam warned that although a quarter of adults are fully vaccinated there are also many below the age of 42 that have yet to receive their first dose.
He added: “I know this feels tantalisingly, extremely close and it is going to be frustrating at times, particularly for those who have had their two doses – but we just need to make sure we don’t have to go backwards again on any of this.
“Hold the line for just a teeny bit longer.”
Despite the UK’s successful vaccination programme, Government ministers are still urging the public to adhere to social distance guidance and follow good hygiene practices.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Wednesday that 60 million booster jabs will be available in the future.
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