U.K. Warns Against Booking Summer Breaks Despite Vaccine Rollout

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The mood music from the U.K. government was clear: Get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus as possible so that by the spring the economy can open, children can go back to school and life can return to something closer to normal.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps offered a sobering corrective on Wednesday, warning it is “too soon” to be booking summer holidays.

“People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now -- not domestically or internationally,” Shapps told BBC Radio. “We don’t know where we’ll be up to in terms of the decline in cases, deaths, vaccination. And not just the vaccination program here, but the vaccination program internationally, because people will be going outside of our borders.”

It reflects a shift in tone in Boris Johnson’s government since evidence emerged suggesting virus variants may make vaccines less effective.

Scientists stress the shots offer substantial protection and have encouraged people to be vaccinated. But Shapps’s comment may temper expectations ahead of the prime minister’s Feb. 22 statement on how restrictions will be eased -- especially in the U.K.’s beleaguered hospitality industry.

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