Julian presses Prime Minister on when vaccination progress will allow safe relaxation of restrictions
January 13, 2021
Today at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Julian questioned Boris Johnson about considering setting a target for when vaccination of the vulnerable is sufficiently advanced to allow for the easing of restrictions, to give people hope and emphasise that observing lockdown measures is leading somewhere.
The vaccination programme has already injected nearly 2.5 million people with their first dose, which yields a high degree of immunity, including over 10,000 York residents as of Saturday. The rollout is currently concentrated on covering everyone in the top four vulnerable priority groups by 15th February – elderly care home residents and care home workers, frontline NHS staff, everyone over 70, and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
In the House of Commons this afternoon, Julian asked:
“With the vaccination programme making very encouraging progress, can the Prime Minister reaffirm that lifting restrictions to return to normal as soon as it is safe is an overriding national priority? And can I invite him to consider drawing a line in the sand, in terms of vaccination of sufficient numbers of the priority group, the reaching of which will trigger a phased relaxation of controls as immunity widens?”
The Prime Minister responded:
“I can confirm that we are going to go down the top four priority groups, who sadly count for 88% of covid deaths. The target, as he knows, is that by 15 February there will then be an opportunity to look carefully at the measures we have in place. We will try to reverse the restrictions as soon as we reasonably can, in a way that does not involve overwhelming the NHS.”
On leaving the Commons, Julian said: “Although ideally I would have liked a more specific commitment to the exact level of vaccination at which we can safely look to relax the extraordinary restraints on everyday life, I welcome Boris’s reaffirmation that the restrictions will be re-examined when the most vulnerable have been vaccinated by mid-February.
To sustain confidence and compliance with restrictions, I believe it is essential for people to know this is a ‘lockdown with a purpose’, and that continued sacrifices by residents now as the vaccine rolls out will have a direct pay-off through the future safe lifting of covid measures.Amid the grimness of the virus resurgence, it is reassuring that we should be just a month away from removing all our loved ones in groups accounting for 88% of covid mortality from the path of the virus.”