Matt Hancock says Covid vaccine will ease restrictions as early as March as he “can’t wait to remove tier system”

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MATT Hancock says fast-track approval of a coronavirus vaccine means restrictions could be relaxed as early as March.

The health secretary told The Telegraph he was looking forward to scrapping the Tier system and getting life back to normal by spring.

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Matt Hancock thinks fast-track vaccine approval could lead to restrictions easing in MarchCredit: London News Pictures

Mr Hancock said swift approval of Pfizer and Biontech’s coronavirus vaccine earlier this week would result in an earlier end to measures that have changed the lives of Britons since last March.

He told the Telegraph: “There is no doubt that getting the vaccine early … will bring the time when we can get rid of these angry restrictions, but by then we have to follow them.

“Help is underway. ”

It marks a decisive change in tone from the Health Secretary, who was previously considered one of the cabinet’s most vocal supporters of tough coronavirus measures.

The first vaccinations are currently being dispatched to 50 sites this weekend ahead of the first vaccination on Tuesday – which Mr Hancock has dubbed ‘V Day’.

The more lives you save and the fewer people die, the faster you can lift restrictions

Matt Hancock

According to government plans, half of all vulnerable Britons could be vaccinated by the end of February.

This could allow MPs to sanction the easing of restrictions when they are renewed in the House of Commons by January 27.

The mass rollout of the vaccine will also be accompanied by a massive government advisory campaign, which is expected to be launched before Christmas.

He is expected to feature well-known celebrities, and Hancock said he was looking for “absolutely wonderful 90s … to get the shot.”

He did not say if that meant the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, who are both 90 years old.

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Despite his optimism that the restrictions would be lifted, Hancock said scientists were not yet sure whether the coup would prevent patients from transmitting the virus.

He said that meant “the elbow salute could be there for a while.” ”

And the government’s ambitious plan to vaccinate vulnerable people also remains contingent on increased manufacturing by Pfizer and approval by the MHRA of the highly anticipated vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and Astrazeneca.

Mr Hancock added: “We will continue to monitor what happens to the outbreak.

“But the more people you get vaccinated, the more lives you save and fewer people die, the sooner you can lift the restrictions – it’s that simple.”

Meanwhile, general practitioners have been told to be ready to start giving patients the Covid-19 vaccine in just nine days.

However, the NHS warned that the “scale and complexity” of the vaccination program would make it “one of the greatest challenges they have ever faced”.

“It is crucial that we start activating local immunization services to enable priority patient cohorts to start accessing the vaccine,” he said in a letter.

The warning was signed by Dr Nikita Kanani, medical director of primary care at NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Ed Waller, director of primary care.

Vaccination sites should be ready to deliver 975 doses of the vaccine to priority patients within three and a half days of delivery on December 14.

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