Britain will need lockdowns until MARCH even with vaccines, Professor Chris Whitty warns
Britain will remain in some form of lockdown until at least March despite the roll out of coronavirus vaccines, Professor Chris Whitty has warned.
The chief medical officer said not enough Brits will have been inoculated against Covid-19 over the next three months to keep the most vulnerable out of hospitals.
He urged people not to let their guard down now a jab had been approved, saying it would be 'really premature' and 'absolutely the wrong thing to do'.
Professor Whitty told the Commons Health and Science Committee today: 'For the next three months, I want to be very clear, we will not have sufficient protection.
'We're going through the most difficult time of year for respiratory infections and the most difficult time of year for the NHS.
'So the idea we can suddenly stop now because the vaccine is here, that would be really premature.
Professor Whitty said around 20 million people are in the first phase of the NHS vaccination programme, including all those over the age of 50, plus healthcare workers, care home staff and elderly people.
He told MPs he expects to have a 'portfolio' of several vaccines by the middle of 2021, but advised that the rollout process should still proceed 'carefully'.
He said: 'The aim would be to roll out this vaccine and any others that get a licence and are effective and safe.
However, Professor Whitty said Brits won't be able to choose which vaccine they have until at least spring next year.
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