Health Minister Matt Hancock has said he does not think allowing families over Christmas will lead to more deaths from the coronavirus.
When he appeared on Good Morning Britain, Mr Hancock said there must be a balance between people wanting to see their families at Christmas and protecting people.
But when asked by host Piers Morgan if he thinks a ‘big, merry five-day Christmas knees up’ could bring the UK back in terms of infection rates and deaths, Mr Hancock replied, ‘Well, I don’t think it will work. Which.”
“We haven’t finally agreed any rules around Christmas, but I essentially agree that it has to be careful, it has to be in balance,” added the health minister.
“We are trying to get an agreement across the UK because so many people live in different parts of the UK and usually travel at Christmas.
“But there is a balance between people wanting to see their families for Christmas while keeping people safe. Because while the vaccine is very well in the offing now, it will take a few months to roll out.”
Oxford University said interim analysis of its phase three vaccine study shows that their vaccine is 70% effective when combined in two doses.
But when administered in half a dose and then a full dose, the vaccine can be up to 90 percent effective, the scientists said.
The result is comparable to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which have recently been shown to be 95% and 94.5% effective, respectively.
Mr Hancock said production of the AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccines had already started pending positive results and the plan was to vaccinate people before Christmas.
However, most people won’t get the vaccine until early next year.
“Most of the rollout will take place in the new year, even if we get regulatory approvals soon,” Hancock told Good Morning Britain viewers.
So we all have to stick to the rules and keep doing the things we know we need to do – the social distance, the basics of hands, face and space.
“We have to keep doing that to protect people.”