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Posted 2020-12-03 09:28:40 UTC

Chief Medical Officer warns masks may be necessary for years in fight against Covid 19


England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer warns that face masks could be necessary 'for YEARS' and could become as commonplace as in the Far East.


Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said there would not be an opportunity to 'have a massive party and throw out our masks and hand sanitiser' in a similar way to celebrations marking the end of World War Two. He added that Covid 19 would not be eradicated, but may become a seasonal infection, like the flu.


This was said in the wake of news that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use starting with care home residents next week.


He was then interrupted by Boris Johnson at a press conference at No 10 Downing Street last night. The Prime Minister insisted that life would return to 'pretty much as close to normal' a day after he suffered the biggest Tory rebellion in this Parliament so far.


Boris cautioned against believing the announcement of a vaccine means the end of restrictions. He warned the 'worst thing now would be to think that this is the moment when we can relax our guard', saying  it would be wrong to think it is 'game over in the fight against Covid' and 'this is not the end' as he urged people to stick to the new rules ahead of a potential return to normal life in spring next year.   


It comes as the UK today approved Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for thousands of care home residents - who are at the front of the queue - to get inoculated next week.


Some 800,000 doses of the jab, which requires two doses taken 21 days apart, will be available next week. The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses in total, with 10 million due by the end of 2020 and the rest in the New Year. 


Mr Johnson described it as a 'huge moment' and also 'a very moving thing' while Prof Van-Tam admitted he was 'quite emotional this morning' after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had given the jab the green light. But speaking about its impact, deputy chief medical officer Prof Van-Tam warned that Covid-19 could not be eradicated forever, but may become a seasonal infection.  


Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed an end to the pandemic was now 'in sight' but warned the roll out will be 'one of the biggest civilian logistical efforts that we've faced as a nation'.   


But there are growing fears care home residents could be made to wait for the vaccine because of the logistical challenges of moving around medicine which must be stored long term at -70C.  




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