Brits should enjoy ‘happy and free summer’ with most vaccinated, govt declares

A ray of hope was given to Brits when the Health Secretary was asked how the country will look at the start of the school summer holidays.

Matt Hancock told BBC Politics East he hopes Brits will be in the middle of a "happy and free summer" in six months time.

He refused to put a date on when restrictions can lift, and said "we’re going to have a touch few months of lockdown," but did say he hopes the country will be able to enjoy summer.

The Health Secretary said: "In six months we'll be in the middle of, I hope, a happy and free Great British summer."

Mr Hancock added that he has a "high degree of confidence" the "vast majority of adults will have been vaccinated" by July 31 thanks to NHS efforts.

He said: "That’s not just the clinically vulnerable groups but then going to all groups, people like me, I’m in my 40s and healthy and we’ll have got through everybody.

"That will give a high level of protection. The more people take up the vaccine the more we’ll be protected as a society…"

It came as the UK vaccine rollout rose by more than 500,000 first doses in a single fay for the first time, with 7,792,996 people as of Saturday, January 30 having received a jab.

The previous record for the UK was 491,970 first doses on January 23.

Ministers had hoped that the entire UK population will be vaccinated before the year is out, but this is not a guaranteed timeline.

As the vaccine is relatively new, there isn't data to tell whether getting the jab will stop people passing Covid on to others.

Scientists are waiting to see if there is a "divergence in case rates" and hope to see cases and hospitalisations in the over-70s and over-80s fall.

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Dr Susan Hopkins, Incident Director for Covid at Public Health England, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: "What we’d like to see is a divergence in the case rates in the over-70s and over-80s who’ve been vaccinated from the younger age groups, to show they’re declining faster.

"We’ve now hit 80% of the over-80s being vaccinated and really fast numbers climbing in the under-80 age group as well."

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