“Now is the time to slow down the accelerator because by being vigilant now, we have a chance to save thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more over the next four weeks,” Johnson told a Downing Street news conference.
The UK is increasing by 7% week on week and the government fears hospitalizations could rise to levels seen in the country’s first wave if restrictions are fully lifted next Monday.
The four-week gap will allow the government to expedite giving a second vaccination to the most vulnerable.
“Vaccination greatly reduces transmission and two doses provide a very high level of protection against serious illness and death, but there are still millions of young adults who have not been vaccinated and, sadly, the elderly and vulnerable. Ratio could still die, even if he had had two jabs,” Johnson said.
Public Health England (PHE) reported on Monday that the two main vaccines used in the UK are highly effective against the variant.
PHE says the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against the variant after two doses, while the Pfizer-BioNTech shot provides 96% protection after two doses. Their research has found that while one dose is 17% less effective in protecting people from the delta version than the alpha version, the two have little difference.
This means that Britain is in a race against time to join arms in the next four weeks.
The government believes it will achieve this by reducing the gap between doses from 12 weeks to eight for those over the age of 40. Everyone over the age of 40 will be offered a single dose in mid-May, while a dose will be offered until July 19. Everyone over the age of 18 will be offered their first shot by that date.
public opinion divided
Johnson firmly believes this will be the last delay and there will be no reason for it to last more than four weeks. There is a chance that the country could be unlocked earlier on July 5th – if the data supports it, though that doesn’t seem likely.
Delay will almost certainly divide opinion.
While the majority of the public has largely been supportive of the UK’s stricter COVID restrictions during the pandemic, Johnson’s U-turning habit could be woefully underfunded as citizens and businesses busy planning their summer of freedom.
British citizens have been living under some form of COVID-19 restrictions since March 23, 2020, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation that, with immediate effect, they should stay at home to suppress the virus.
Since that date, the UK’s COVID story has gone through many ups and downs, from failed testing systems to thousands of daily deaths and the cancellation of Christmas.
MPs in Johnson’s Conservative Party have been publicly silent but are deeply uncomfortable with the delay in lifting restrictions – precisely because of the vaccine’s success.
A veteran member of parliament told CNN that “it’s true that this version is spreading,” that mortality and hospitalizations are relatively low, adding that “the damages that do to the economy and quality of life” are simply not justified. .
Another senior Conservative MP expressed anger that Johnson opted to announce measures for the country “before Parliament bothered to tell us”, a criticism that has been leveled at the PM throughout the crisis. “If he’s going to do this without consulting us, he’s going to have to give us some kind of flexibility. There has to be some carrots, it can’t all stick.”
Johnson is offering some kind of carrot.
Thousands of Britons have had to delay their weddings over the past 15 months. By Monday, the rules surrounding weddings will be relaxed, removing the 30-person limit on those who attend and instead relying on venues to adhere to social distancing rules, meaning six And there is no dancing or singing.
Anti-lockdown voices are increasing
It is likely that the majority of the public will support Johnson, if past patterns are anything to go by.
“Since the start of the first lockdown, two long-term [trends] have emerged: the government is moving too slowly and not doing enough,” says Joe Tweeman, director of public opinion advisor DeltaPole.
However, he also noted that as more people have been vaccinated and are becoming increasingly confident with normalcy, this may change: “There are a significant number of people who are now anti-lockdown and They are getting louder, disproportionate to their size.”
Twyman says the best way to silence the noise would be to sell it as “the last step in a popular and successful vaccine regime”, not “re-defending hospitals, making it feel like Groundhog Day” ”
Simon Clark, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, believes that extending the immunization measures to more people by four weeks could have a big impact.
“When a virus is circulating around a population, it can mutate,” he says. “Every time it replicates (infects) there is the potential for a mutation. While most of them are neutral or even harm the virus, each time a mutation gives the virus a ‘fitness advantage’ which makes it more contagious. Clearly, the more people on the second dose, the less dangerously this thing can mutate.”
Whether or not Johnson’s delays go down well with the public and lawmakers is something Johnson was desperate to avoid. His personal politics has always been telling the central government what citizens want to do. The fact that he has had to lecture the public so many times in the last 15 months is something that the Prime Minister is fully aware of that can define his legacy as a leader.
And even though the public is widely in favor of Johnson’s drastic measures during this crisis, it’s impossible to deny that it sits uncomfortably with a man whose biggest political victories come to take back control of Britain. was on the basis.