Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said preliminary evidence on the effect of vaccines on coronavirus transmission is “really encouraging” but suggested the full data may not be available for weeks. It comes as a survey of health workers do not approve on the Government’s handling of the Covid crisis.
Boris Johnson is “hopeful” that lockdown can be cautiously eased in the coming weeks, saying vaccines are providing “grounds for confidence”.
The Prime Minister said he wants the current national lockdown to be the last – and for the unlocking to be “irreversible” – ahead of the publication of his “road map” on Monday.
Mr Johnson will analyse data this week on coronavirus case numbers, hospital admissions, deaths and the impact of the vaccine rollout as he prepares his plan to reduce restrictions.
Mr Zahawi said early research from Oxford University has been promising but cited two ongoing Public Health England (PHE) studies on the impact of vaccines on Covid-19 – the Vivaldi study on care home residents and staff, and the Siren research on healthcare workers – as being key.
Survey of almost 3,500 health workers shows almost half think Ministers have handled covid crisis ‘badly’ and have made the situation worse
Less than 5 per cent of NHS staff think the Government has handled the pandemic well, a GMB poll shows.
In the survey of almost 3,500 health workers, only 4.9% answered that the Government was doing a good job during the covid crisis.
Almost half (47 per cent) said they thought the Government had handled the pandemic badly and had made the situation worse.
GMB has campaigned throughout the pandemic for NHS workers to have proper PPE, covid testing and pay justice after a decade of Conservative cuts which has seen their real terms pay slashed.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “NHS staff have been badly let down by Ministers throughout this pandemic – it’s no wonder they don’t think the Government is doing a good job.
“It’s a year into the crisis and we’ve still got ambulance workers attending patients with flimsy gowns and paper masks instead of proper PPE and nurses in hospitals working amongst covid patients given only the most basic of surgical masks.
“And while other key-workers have been given recognition for their efforts – NHS staff are still waiting. They are still suffering negative consequences from the last pay settlement – which GMB members rejected.
“Ministers admitted this week the NHS needs radical reform to repair ten years of Tory privatisation – the first change they must make is to give staff the pay and protection they need to carry on saving lives.”