Coronavirus vaccines may not completely prevent people from passing the virus on to others, and people who received the sting should continue to adhere to lockdown restrictions, the assistant chief medical officer for England said.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said if those who have been vaccinated slack off because they are protected, they may put those lower on the priority list at risk who still need to be vaccinated.
His warning came when recent government figures showed the number receiving the first dose of the vaccine across the UK exceeded 5.8 million, with a record of 478,248 receiving the sting in a single day.
In other developments:
- Individuals coming to the UK from abroad may need to be quarantined in a hotel, according to a number of Sunday newspapers. The cabinet is split on whether the policy should apply to all arrivals or just those returning from coronavirus hotspots.
- A collective representing more than 400 public and private schools has offered in a letter to Boris Johnson in a letter to Boris Johnson to vaccinate all teachers and educational staff in England.
- According to the Sunday Telegraph, at least eight different vaccination record programs had received government funding totaling £ 450,000 as of Jan. 1, despite Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove previously saying such certificates were “not the plan”.
Prof Van-Tam, who wrote on the Telegraph, said it was still not known whether people who had been vaccinated could continue to pass the virus on to others despite being protected from disease themselves.
“Even if you received both doses of the vaccine, you can still pass Covid on to someone else and the chains of transmission will continue,” he wrote.
“If you change your behavior, you can still spread the virus, keep the number of cases high and put others at risk who also need their vaccine but are lower in the queue.
“Regardless of whether someone has been vaccinated or not, it is important that everyone follows national public health restrictions and notices, as protection lasts up to three weeks and we do not yet know the effects of vaccines on transmission.
“The vaccine has brought great hope and we are in the last furlong of the pandemic, but right now, vaccinated or not, we have to follow the instructions a little longer.”
Regardless, another 32 vaccination sites will open across the country this week, including one in the museum that became known as the set of hit television series Peaky Blinders.
Sights include the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, featured on the long-running TV show, a racetrack, soccer stadium, and a former Ikea store.
Prof. Van-Tam also hit back on doctors who criticized the decision to increase the gap between the first and second dose of the vaccine to 12 weeks.
The British Medical Association has written to the Chief Medical Officer for England asking for a rethink. In the case of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the World Heath Organization (WHO) mandated a maximum gap of six weeks.
Prof. Van-Tam said widening the gap is the fastest way to get a first dose to as many people as possible as soon as possible.
He said, “But none of these (who ask sensible questions) will tell me, whoever should be on the risk list should have slower access to their first dose so that someone else who has already had a dose (and therefore most of them) Protection) can get a second? “
The chairman of the BMA council, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul said that while he understood the “reasons” for the decision, no other country was following the UK approach.
“We believe the flexibility that WHO gives to extend to 42 days is far too great to go from six weeks to twelve weeks,” he said.
“Of course, the protection won’t go away after six weeks, but we don’t know what level of protection is offered. We shouldn’t be extrapolating data where we don’t have it. “
Meanwhile, it is reported that schools in England will not fully reopen next month – and may not return until after the Easter break.
The Sunday Times said Education Secretary Gavin Williamson would rule out a return to the classroom after the February halftime break and prepare parents for an extended period of home schooling.
As recently as Thursday, Williamson said he hoped schools could reopen before Easter, although Downing Street specifically declined to endorse his comments.