Matt Hancock hopes life can get back to ‘normal’ by Easter with vaccine
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he hopes the deployment of a Covid-19 vaccine will signal that life can return to “normal” by Easter.
His comments came after three teams of scientists released positive interim clinical data on potential Covid-19 vaccine trials.
Mr Hancock also suggested that some habits encouraged during the pandemic, such as regular hand washing, would continue.
But he said he didn’t expect another national lockdown.
There will be a shift towards a focus on “personal responsibility” rather than social distancing after Easter once the vaccines reach the most vulnerable, he added.
He said the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) had recommended that after all people aged 50 and over have been vaccinated – up to group 10 on the priority list – restrictions on social distancing that “hurt” society would likely be lifted.
He said: “I think if we can bring down the number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations, because of the vaccination program… then basically I think we will get to the point where we protect the most vulnerable and there (is) the argument for more personal responsibility in how we respond to this, rather than INPs (social distancing interventions), especially INPs that harm the economy or society and well-being.
“I think that’s where we’ll get to, yeah.
Mr Hancock also told a joint session of the Committee on Health and Welfare and the Committee on Science and Technology: “After Easter, we believe that we will return to normal.
“There are things that are ‘no regrets’, right? Washing your hands more and parts of social distancing are no-regret things that I think will become commonplace.
“But these damaging social distancing interventions that have downsized, be it economic or social disadvantages in terms of well-being, I hope we can lift them after Easter if these two vaccines are approved by the regulator, this which of course is an independent decision. for the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). “