Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has resisted calls from health officials for tighter restrictions despite the growing number of cases, said the vaccines will get the country through the winter and out of the pandemic.
Professor Adam Finn, who is on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), warned of complacency in what he called “worsening” the situation.
He said people had to test themselves, wear masks and avoid crowds in confined spaces in order to avoid “a real collapse.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this week new cases could reach 100,000 a day, but Downing Street insisted there was still spare capacity in the NHS and that Plan B would not would be activated only if it was under “significant pressure”.
Plan B includes advice on working from home and the mandatory use of face masks.
When asked if it is time to introduce plan B to fight the coronavirus, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said “at the moment the data does not suggest that we should immediately move to plan B”.
He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Well the Prime Minister actually just said that we look at the data all the time, as you would expect.
“We are monitoring everything, but at the moment the data does not suggest that we should immediately move to Plan B, but of course we will be keeping an eye on it and the plans are ready. “
Vaccine Minister Maggie Throup said Plan A “works” and “where we need to be”.
When asked where the case numbers will need to go before the public is asked to work from home, Ms Throup told LBC: ‘The public have been very patient in doing what we have asked them to do. .
“And I think Plan A actually opened up people’s lives and that’s so important because if we have to take any further action I’m sure they will have enjoyed exactly the freedoms we were able to offer them.” right now.
“Plan A is working, as I said, the data currently shows that Plan A is working. “
The government has launched a media blitz encouraging people to get a booster shot, and encouraging those who are not yet vaccinated to do so.
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “Yesterday was the biggest day yet for Covid recall jabs: more than 325,000 people benefit from life-saving protection.
“In the past three days, more than 800,000 people have had their booster shots. “
Professor Finn said that while vaccines are very effective in preventing people from getting seriously ill, they are not as effective in stopping infections completely or preventing the spread of the virus.
“They are having an effect on it, but they alone will not be enough at this time to control the spread of the virus,” he said.
“And we have to see people continue to make efforts to avoid contact, avoid transmission and do other things as well as get vaccinated if we are to prevent this increase from continuing,” he told Trevor Phillips. We. Sunday on Sky News.
Professor Finn added: “I would like to stress again that the vaccination program alone, in the current situation, even if things are going optimally, is not, in my opinion, sufficient to control things.
“We need to have people using lateral flow testing, avoiding contact with large numbers of people in confined spaces, using masks, all of these things now have to happen if we are to stop this increase and bring them under control. things early enough to stop a real meltdown in the middle of winter.
His comments came after another prominent government adviser on Covid-19 said he was “very fearful” that there would be another “Christmas lockdown” as he urged the public to do their utmost possible to reduce the transmission of the virus.
Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag), said the number of cases and death rates are currently “unacceptable”.
He said measures such as working from home and wearing masks are “so important” in efforts to control the spread of Covid.
Professor Openshaw also advised people to “take matters into their own hands”, telling BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “Don’t necessarily wait for government policy”.
Meanwhile, Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said people should try to minimize the need for health resources.
She told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “We haven’t entered the pandemic in a great place in emergency care. We didn’t have enough beds then.
“The problem is, things are worse right now, so we need everyone to be as careful as possible with health resources and try to minimize the need for health resources.
“So if we have 8,000 hospital patients suffering from Covid, if we didn’t have these patients, that would represent 8,000 more beds in the system.
“So every bed that’s filled by a Covid patient one way is in a hospital bed with potentially preventable disease, and that’s what we need people to focus on if we’re going to overcome it. elective backlog. “
Meanwhile, The Observer reported that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) contacted local authorities on Friday to assess their level of support for the “immediate rollout of winter plan – plan B”.
A UKHSA spokeswoman said: “We are not commenting on the leaks. It is part of the UKHSA’s role to provide advice to the government on the ongoing response to the pandemic.
“The UKHSA recognizes the past and present importance of local authorities and their public health directors in managing the pandemic.
“We will continue to consult with them and learn from the experience of local communities to help us protect the health of the country. “