Boris Johnson Targets Vaccines for Everyone Over 50 by April


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a target to vaccinate all over-50s against coronavirus by the end of April, but warned it’s still too soon to talk about lifting the nation’s lockdown.

More data on the success of vaccines is needed before restrictions can be eased, Johnson’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said at a televised press briefing with the two men on Wednesday evening.

“We’re just going to have to be a little bit more patient,” Johnson said, as he told people not to book any vacations. “It is just too early to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer.”

The U.K.’s vaccination program continues at speed, with more than 13 million people having now received their first dose. Data relating to the pandemic is also improving, with cases of the virus, hospitalizations and deaths all falling, Vallance said.

However, any re-opening of the economy will have to happen carefully so the government can measure the effects of any relaxation of the rules, he said.

“The virus isn’t going to be particularly interested in dates,” Vallance said. “Caution is very important as we go into opening things up.”

Johnson is scheduled to set out a road map for easing restrictions on Feb. 22. He is under pressure from members of his own Conservative Party to start lifting curbs as soon as possible to help the U.K. rebound from its worst downturn for 300 years.

In other developments:

  • Johnson said annual and booster vaccines will be likely for coronavirus, similar to the flu jab
  • The U.K. recorded another 1,001 coronavirus deaths within 28 days of a positive test, taking the country’s death toll to 114,851
  • The World Health Organization recommended the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot for all adults over 18, and supported the U.K.’s practice of delaying the second dose of the vaccine

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