What progress his Department has made on establishing the extent of roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine required to enable relaxation of covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement.
The vaccines are without a doubt the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began—a huge step forward in our fight against coronavirus—and, testament to the Secretary of State’s laser-like focus on vaccines, we are here today with 2.4 million doses administered and rising. However, the full impact of covid-19 vaccinations on infection rates will not be clear until a larger number of people have been vaccinated.
I am very pleased to welcome the announcement of a vaccination site at Adams Park in Wycombe, with further sites to be announced shortly. My hon. Friend has told us that when the top four JCVI groups have been vaccinated, that will account for 88% of potential fatalities, so can he not very soon give people a sure and not-too-distant hope that their freedoms will be returned as the vaccination programme rolls forward?
I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s continued support, not least in making sure that he examines the data very carefully, which I know he is passionate about. He is absolutely right that 88% of mortality effectively comes from the top four most vulnerable cohorts in the JCVI’s list of nine, and 99% comes from those top nine most vulnerable cohorts.
On that point in time—that point of inflection between community spread and vaccination—I will quote the deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, who said, “Ask me in a few weeks’ or a few months’ time if it does obviously impact on spread.” The scientists are hopeful, as are we, and as is the Prime Minister—not least because he wants to see the back of these non-pharmaceutical interventions in the economy.