The UK’s vaccination programme is ahead of schedule, and some civil servants are suggesting that every adult could have been offered a first jab by the beginning of May, according to Sky News.
Civil servants and people in government are becoming increasingly confident that the vaccination programme is on track to meet and exceed its targets, after the UK hit its first vaccination milestone of getting a first jab to all residents of care homes.
There are also reports that over-65s could start receiving invitations to book appointments for the vaccine as early as next week, which would be ahead of the current schedule.
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While the Department of Health is yet to comment on reports that all adults could have had the first dose of the vaccine offered to them by early May, a Whitehall source told Politico’s Playbook that this could be a realistic target, if things continue at the current pace.
Around 9.3 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far, and the Government is hoping to have vaccinated all 15 million of the most vulnerable by 15 February.
Are there any potential issues?
After a brief threat of a dispute with the EU over vaccine supply, it now seems the UK is unlikely to have any issue with getting enough doses of the vaccine into the country.
And, in terms of supply, the UK is unlikely to struggle, with 400 million doses on order.
What will this mean for lockdowns?
While it is possible that restrictions will begin to be eased as early as mid-March, with people likely to be able to meet others outside for exercise, a full return to normal is still highly unlikely for the foreseeable future.
There are concerns, though, that the Government will struggle to enforce lockdowns or social distancing measures once significant portions of the country have received a first jab, even though not everyone will have full protection.
While the Government was originally planning on transitioning from lockdown back into the tiered system, there are now reports that the Prime Minister is hoping for all of England to leave lockdown at the same time, but more gradually.