‘Don’t blow it’: Matt Hancock warns Britons to stick to rules after joy of first COVID vaccines

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·2 min read
Matt Hancock warned people to 'not blow it' and follow measures to keep others safe given the vaccine rollout is in its early stages. (Parliamentlive.tv)
Matt Hancock warned people to 'not blow it' and follow measures to keep others safe given the vaccine rollout is in its early stages. (Parliamentlive.tv)

Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned Britons not to “blow it” following the joy of the first coronavirus vaccines.

On Tuesday, British grandmother Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 jab outside a clinical trial, as the NHS began its mass vaccination programme across the UK.

Keenan, 90, was given the jab in Coventry at 6.31am, marking the start of a phased NHS rollout of the vaccine to older people, health staff and care home workers.

For now, though, restrictions on people’s movement and socialising remain in place, with nearly 15,000 new COVID infections reported on Monday alone.

Watch: Margaret Keenan given guard of honour after receiving first COVID-19 vaccine

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Hancock proclaimed: “Today marks the start of the fightback against our common enemy, coronavirus.”

However, he warned people to “temper” their joy after he was asked by Conservative MP Joy Morrissey if the government could move quicker to lift local restrictions in the new year.

“I very much hope so but there’s some time between now and then.

“We’ve got to temper our joy and enthusiasm at today’s announcement with the need to keep each other safe between now and then. Let’s not blow it since we can see the answer is on the horizon.”

It hasn’t stopped Hancock booking his summer holiday, though.

Asked by his predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, if people could think about booking their summer holidays, Hancock told MPs he has “high confidence that the summer of 2021 will be a bright one without the sort of restrictions that made the summer of 2020 more restrictive. I’ve booked my holiday. I’m going to Cornwall.”

Read more: Matt Hancock appears visibly emotional in GMB interview as UK gets first COVID vaccine

Jabs will be administered at 70 hospital hubs across the UK from Tuesday – dubbed “V-Day” by Hancock.

He added there are “huge logistical challenges” in rolling out the vaccine as he confirmed the first 800,000 doses of Pfizer’s jab are in the country, with the next consignment scheduled to arrive next week.

The government plans to start vaccinations by GPs next week, and in care homes “by Christmas”.

Once more vaccines are in the country, vaccination centres will open in larger venues such as stadiums and conference halls.

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