It's an amazing achievement that, in just four short months, we've offered a COVID-19 jab to everyone over 50 and the most vulnerable in our communities. That's over 32 million first jabs and nearly 8 million of us who've had our second jab as well. With the roll out of the Moderna vaccine and over 45s being offered jabs this week too, it really does feel like we're winning the race against COVID-19.
But we're not at the finish line yet.
We've made fantastic progress with the vaccination programme, but we've still got a long way to go. We need to vaccinate the under 50s next and the 5% in the most vulnerable groups who haven't had their vaccine yet.
And although the reopening of pub gardens, gyms and shops this week has been great, we need to balance celebration with caution.Chief Executive
And although the reopening of pub gardens, gyms and shops this week has been great, we need to balance celebration with caution. The underlying reality of this horrible virus remains the same - as we increase social contact, the rates of transmission will go up as well.
So let's celebrate safely. Please continue to follow social distancing rules while you're out and about– this is the best way to keep you, and everyone around you, safe.
We also need to stay on top of new variants of COVID-19, which now pose the greatest threat to our efforts to control the pandemic. The spread of the South African variant of COVID-19 in South London this week shows how important it is to act quickly and contain any outbreaks of new variants through testing and contact tracing.
We're making good and rapid progress but we can't afford to let up now. Have your jab when the NHS gets in touch and play your part by sticking to the rules. That's how we'll ensure that this current lockdown is hopefully our last.
This blog was first published in the Daily Express newspaper.