Jan 27, 2021

Boris Johnson COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript January 27

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript April 20
RevBlogTranscriptsBoris Johnson TranscriptsBoris Johnson COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript January 27

Boris Johnson held a Downing Street press conference on January 27 to provide updates on COVID-19 and vaccine distribution. Read the full transcript of the briefing here.

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Boris Johnson: (01:14)
Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us. When we look at the toll of this pandemic, it must be measured not only in the tragic loss of life that we’ve endured with over 100,000 deaths, and once again, I offer my condolences to the families of friends and friends of everybody who’s lost loved ones, but I’m afraid we must also remember not just the damage to the economy, but the last weeks and months of education and the real risk of damage to the prospects of our young people. And so I share very much the frustration of pupils and teachers who today want nothing more than to get back to the classroom. And I understand the stress and the anxieties of parents coping heroically with the pressures of homeschooling. I know that everybody across the country wants us to get schools open as fast as possible. And I can assure you that is the ambition of this government.

Boris Johnson: (02:16)
But I also know, we all know that we’re 37,000 people in hospital suffering from COVID and the infection rates still forbiddingly high, you, we all, must be cautious. And we all want only to open schools when we can be sure that this will not cause another huge surge in the disease. Because the problem is not that schools are unsafe. Teachers and head teachers have worked heroically to make sure that they are safe. They are COVID secure. The problem is that by definition, schools bring many households together, and that contributes to the spread of the virus within the community and drives up the [inaudible 00:02:59]. And so it follows that if we’re to get schools open and keep them open, which is what we all want, then we need to be clear about certain things. We need to be sure that the vaccine rollout is continuing to be successful, as it is. Most important, we need to see the impact of our vaccines on those graphs of mortality. We need to see that they really are saving lives and preventing people from becoming seriously ill. Now, we’re confident that that will happen, and the vaccines will have that effect, but to be responsible, we must see the proof, and our current estimates say that the proof will only become visible in the middle of February. And since we need to give schools two weeks notice to reopen, it is sensible now to serve notice that we will not be able to reopen schools immediately after half term on February the 22nd. But if we continue to make the progress that we want to see and that we believe we can see, then we hope to begin opening schools on Monday, March the eighth. And to help parents and teachers with this extended period of remote learning, we will extend the arrangements for providing free school meals for those eligible children not in school, including food parcels and the national voucher scheme, until those peoples have returned to the classroom.

Boris Johnson: (04:38)
And as we did this financial year, we will provide a catch-up program over the next financial year with a further 300 million pounds of new money to schools for tutoring. And we’ll work with the education sector to develop, wherever appropriate, specific initiatives for summer schools, as well as a COVID premium for catch-up and support pupils to catch up.

Boris Johnson: (05:06)
We will work with parents, teachers, and schools to develop a long term plan to make sure that pupils, all pupils, have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this parliament. So we tackle that issue of differential learning and kids who may have fallen behind, through no fault of their own.

Boris Johnson: (05:26)
And so with every jab that goes in, we’re becoming more confident that we will reach our target of offering a first dose to everyone in the top four priority groups by the middle of February. And at that moment, we will be able to review our progress, judge the state of the pandemic and the effectiveness of the vaccine. And then in the week beginning the 22nd of February, we will set out our plan, not just for reopening our schools, but gradually to reopen our economy and our society and to get our lives back to as close to normal as possible.

Boris Johnson: (06:09)
Now this will be a timetable that is inevitably going to be subject to adjustment, but I believe it will provide clarity and certainty about the way ahead, a roadmap that we can take together and use as a country to defeat the virus and begin steadily to reclaim our lives.

Boris Johnson: (06:32)
Thank you very much. I’m now going to hand over to Patrick, to Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific advisor, who is going to say a bit about the vaccines.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (06:44)
Just to give you an update on where things are with the epidemic, and Chris [Whitty 00:06:49] did a detailed one last night, but there were 25,308 cases picked up through testing and 1,725 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours. Of course, the case numbers will be higher than that because the testing system only picks up a proportion. So we still are in a position with very high numbers. The estimates from the ONS survey are still over one million people with the disease, with the infection, in this country. That’s roughly one in 55 people still have the infection. And although things have slowed down, and actually, we’re at a plateau or possibly decreasing across the country, that’s not true everywhere. In some cases, there are still some increases.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (07:39)
So we are at a position where the lockdowns have worked. They’ve slowed this down. They’ve reached a position where it’s reached a plateau and is beginning to decline. And we see that in cases, we’re beginning to see it in hospital admissions, and we’re beginning to see it in deaths, but it’s early days. This isn’t coming down quickly. We remain at very high levels, and it’s going to take weeks for this to start to come down to really low levels. So it’s important that with that and the rollout of the vaccine program, we start to see this changing, as the prime minister said, and the vaccine program should start to kick in so we could see effects in the middle of February. But I want to remind us all that we remain in a difficult position at the moment with still very high levels.

Boris Johnson: (08:24)
Thank you, Patrick. Very, very clear. Let’s go to Gary from Chester.

Gary: (08:31)
As great as the vaccine rollout has been in the UK, how will we know that the vaccines created by other countries are just as effective, to be able to resume travel again? China, for instance, has their own vaccine. If it hasn’t been tested or approved, what measures would we need to put in place to ensure free and open travel between countries even after the UK is vaccinated?

Boris Johnson: (08:52)
Really good question there, Gary. I think I’m going to put that straight to [JBT 00:08:57] or Patrick. JBT, do you want to have a go at that? And then Patrick?

JBT: (09:02)
Yes. Thank you, prime minister. So I think all countries who’ve suffered during this coronavirus pandemic and who now have access to vaccines will actually be as keen as we are to understand the impact of vaccines in a true programmatic sense in their populations. So I think we will get data from around the world that explains vaccine effectiveness. Here in the UK, the colleagues at Public Health England have already linked the national immunization data sets to the testing data. And I’m hopeful that within a few weeks’ time, they will be the beginnings of some signals about how our vaccine program is being effective. That signal will begin with infections, but over time, we will get more data on hospitalizations and on deaths. And I want to make a really important point here-

JBT: (10:03)
… And on deaths. And I want to make a really important point here that although the clinical trials data report headline results in terms of the prevention of infections with symptoms, in public health terms, what is going to change this for us is reductions in hospitalizations, in severe disease, in other words. And we have very real hope that the vaccines, in time, are going to lead the way on this. Thank you.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (10:32)
Maybe the only thing to add is, is it is important that it’s not the vaccines, it’s the vaccinations that need to happen, and that needs to happen right the way across the world. This is a global pandemic and it is important that we see vaccination across the world, especially in countries that perhaps aren’t as well-prepared in terms of their vaccine supply, low and middle-income countries, that do need the support to do this. This has to be a global effort to try and get this disease under control.

Boris Johnson: (11:01)
Thanks very much. Let’s go to Henry from Cornwall.

Henry: (11:06)
Many clinically vulnerable children have been shielding since the start of the pandemic. Clinically vulnerable children haven’t had that glimmer of hope of a vaccine. When will children be able to receive a vaccine without which, children like my daughter, are unable to return to school.

Boris Johnson: (11:23)
Henry, thank you very much. Let’s ask JBT.

JBT: (11:27)
Yeah. So the JCVI advice is that for children who are extremely at risk, there can be a discussion between their physician and the parents about the benefits of vaccination in children under the age of 16 years of age. That would nevertheless be use of the vaccines as they currently stand, in an off-label or off license way, and therefore it needs to be a carefully discussed, individual decision with the physician and the parents.

JBT: (12:04)
Nevertheless, it is possible, in exceptional circumstances, to go down that route. However, we are some way off from there being clinical trials data for multiple vaccines, showing that the vaccines are authorized for use in children. I believe that will come,, in time from a number of manufacturers, but at the moment we wait for some of those trials either to finish or to be conducted.

Boris Johnson: (12:39)
Thanks very much, Jonathan. And thank you, Henry. Laura Coons Berg, BBC.

Laura Coons Berg: (12:45)
Thank you, Prime Minister. You’ve named a hoped for dates now extending the lockdown by another few weeks. Well, how do you rate the chances of being able to stick to the 8th of March for the beginning of the end of this lockdown? And prime minister can ask you to respond to the EU seeming demand for some of the UKs vaccine.

Boris Johnson: (13:07)
Laura, the date of the 8th of March is the earliest that we think it’s sensible for to set for schools to go back and obviously we hope that all schools will go back and the reason we say it’s the earliest is for the reasons I’ve given that we’ve got to give a certain amount of time for all of the… That those four cohorts, that the JCVI, wonderful groups of vulnerable elderly people, to get the level of immunity that they need, that’s got to bed in from February the 15th, if you see what I mean. And then we also need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine in driving those numbers of deaths down and reducing a serious disease. And again, we won’t know that until the middle of February.

Boris Johnson: (14:01)
So I’m hopeful, but that’s the earliest that we can do it and it depends on lots of things going right in [inaudible 00:00:14:10]. I’m sure Patrick and Jonathan would agree with me in this, it also depends on us all now, continuing above all, to work together, to drive down the incidents of the disease through the basic methods that we’ve used throughout this pandemic of trying to avoid transmission by physical contact, washing our hands and all the rest of it. Staying at home, protecting the NHS, all that is absolutely crucial if we’re to make that date as well.

Boris Johnson: (14:41)
And on your point to your question about the EU and our friends and partners there, all I can say is that we’re very confident in our suppliers. We’re very confident in our contracts and we’re going ahead on that basis. Thank you very much, Laura. Carl and ITV.

Carl: (15:04)
Thank you, Prime Minister. You’ve always been clear that reopening schools is your priority. Are you just looking at reopening schools, hopefully on the 8th of March, or do you think other restrictions could be eased then as well? Or how much longer after that, do you think it might take to start easing other restrictions?

Carl: (15:24)
I’d also like to ask, Sir Patrick, if I may, what would you expect the effect of the vaccine to be on the transmission of the virus? And one also for Professor Van-Tam, if I may. Can you just talk us through how schools can both be vectors of transmission and also safe places to be.

Boris Johnson: (15:48)
Thanks Carl. Well, obviously schools are the priority. They remain the priority, but as we make progress in rolling out the vaccine, if all those conditions that I was talking about earlier and I mentioned to Laura, continued to be satisfied, then clearly you will be looking simultaneously at the other restrictions that we have, what we can do in those sectors as well. And as I said earlier on, we will be setting out, I will be setting out by February the 22nd, more of a route map.

Boris Johnson: (16:18)
If you remember what we did last year, we were able after the first phase, to set out some tentative dates by which we hoped to do certain things and actually we were pretty much able to keep to those dates. I’m not saying that we’ll be able to keep to all of them. There may be an adjustable element to this timetable, but that’s obviously what we’ll be hoping to set out on February 22nd, more of a roadmap for everybody to think about.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (16:52)
In terms of the vaccine effects, it’s worth remembering that the vaccines will do a number of things. At the moment, the people that are receiving them, the idea is to protect those individuals. So there, we expect the vaccines to be very effective at reducing severe disease and deaths and the data from the clinical trials are very encouraging on the percentage protection of people ending up in hospital with the disease. So we’ve got high level of protection.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (17:17)
In terms of transmission, it’s much more difficult to get a handle on that at the moment. In other words, how likely is it that if you had the vaccine, you would never catch the infection or you couldn’t pass it on. We think there’ll be partially effective there. So we think that what will happen is that people will catch infections. There’ll be milder infections that won’t cause the same degree of damage in general. Some people of course will still get ill, but on transmission, we’d expect the efficacy to be less than it is on hospitalization, severe disease and deaths.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (17:49)
And if you look at the data coming out of Israel and it’s all preliminary, but they’re now talking about 60% plus in terms of preventing infection. We have to wait and see, and it’ll vary between vaccines as well, I suspect.

Boris Johnson: (18:04)
Thanks, Carl. Tom Newton Dunn, Times Radio. Sorry, John, Jonathan.

JBT: (18:11)
So Carl, I’ll get back to your question. He wants to know about children’s schools. So I’ll try and break this into pieces and through that, I think you’ll build up a picture of what we’re talking about.

JBT: (18:23)
Do children get COVID-19? Yes. Do children get ill with COVID-19? Very rarely, indeed. Do children transmit COVID-19? Yes, but it is predominantly a signal towards the upper teenage years. In other words, the more adult-like they become the greater propensity for them to transmit to others.

JBT: (18:48)
Do teachers get COVID-19? Yes. Is it clear that teachers get COVID-19 from children or from each other? No, it is not clear. Like could also pick it up in their own lives outside of school. Is there a clear signal in the data ,of a markedly increased rate of infection or mortality in teachers? No. But could infected children introduce the infection back in their own households and therefore contribute to? Absolutely, yes.

Boris Johnson: (19:29)
Thanks very much, Jonathan. As Tom Newton Dunn.

Tom Newton Dunn: (19:35)
Thank you. Good afternoon, Prime Minister. Question first to Professor Van-Tam and Sir Patrick. You mentioned there the transmissibility of people who’ve had the vaccine. Second wanted to ask you about, can you tell us what you know so far about whether people are able to still to transmit the virus once they’ve had that first dose, from studies abroad and perhaps some of your own studies. I believe you’re doing some work on it yourself, Professor Van-Tam. The Israeli Health Ministry say as much as 6% less likely to transmit the virus.

Tom Newton Dunn: (20:03)
… say as much of 6% less likely to transmit the virus. And if that’s true, what effect would that have on the pace of the [inaudible 00:00:07], presumably it would really speed it up. And Prime Minister, can I ask you, how did you come to the date of March the 8th for what you’ve said is your hope for schools to start reopening. You do have a reputation for optimism. That’s no insult, but parents are going to be hanging on that, as you well know. It’s five and a half weeks away. They’re going to be incredibly disappointed if they don’t see schools reopened from March the 8th, as you well know. So might it have been wiser, if a little bit miserable, to just wait until you were sure?

Boris Johnson: (20:43)
Should we go first on the transmissibility point?

JBT: (20:45)
Okay. So look, I don’t think there are clear data on the extent to which vaccines will reduce transmission at this point in time. There are multiple studies underway, predominantly conducted by Public Health England in the UK to look at this, and I think we will get those data over time. I think as scientists, we believe on first principles that vaccines with the very high levels of effectiveness that we are seeing from the clinical trials really couldn’t fail to have some effect on transmission. And the question is really less will they, but to what extent. And I think when we have clarity on the extent, that will then open up a whole range of further questions about the future deployment of vaccines after the JCVI priority groups, one to nine, are completed about how vaccines might play a role in keeping transmission low in the UK. But these are questions for the future, and I just can’t give you any clear data on that at the moment.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (22:02)
I think that’s exactly right. I mean, there’s going to be some effect on transmissibility. You don’t have vaccines with this degree of efficacy without there being some effect, but we can’t put a number on it at the moment. I think it’s really important that as these are rolled out across the world, we monitor and understand that in Israel they started doing that, and they’re beginning to get some data out. They’ve said they’re not going to have any firm data for a few weeks yet, and we’re going to be in the same position where we’ll have firmer data. But these are important questions because as Jonathan says, it will also determine to what extent these vaccines can be used across the wider society to reduce transmission overall.

Boris Johnson: (22:40)
Thanks. And Tom, on your point about schools, of course, you’re absolutely right. On the other hand, opening schools is a huge priority for us all, for the country, for parents up and down the land. And what we’re saying is that March the 8th is the earliest date by which we think we might responsibly be able to do that, given what we know now, but it does depend on all those things going right in the way that I described. So the vaccine rollout has to continue to be successful as it currently is.

Boris Johnson: (23:12)
We have to see evidence that those graphs are coming down and that we’re making progress, the vaccines are working, as Patrick has said, in reducing mortality and serious a disease, when you see that are the vaccines actually working for people. And we need to make sure that the infection rate is in the right place and that we’re continuing as a country to what together to drive it down by the means that we’re currently using. We’re going to keep it all under constant review, particularly, obviously on February the 15th, when we’ll know whether we’ve we’ve hit our target of getting those most vulnerable groups vaccinated. Thanks, Tom. Jim [inaudible 00:03:56].

Jim: (23:58)
Prime Minister, question about the row between AstraZeneca and the European Union. Brussels has been threatened to impose vaccine export controls on doses leaving the EU. Have you been considering export restrictions on UK manufactured vaccines, should that occur? And more generally, yesterday you said that you’ve done everything in your power, you did everything you possibly could to tackle that COVID pandemic. But of course, you’ve been criticized for a number of things, including introducing the lockdown quite late, taking three months to introduce the quarantine, not sacking Dominic Cummings, ignoring sage’s advices about bringing in a lockdown in the autumn and also allowing bubbles to form over Christmas for families against the advice of your own scientists. You’ve said you take responsibility for your handling of the crisis, but do you think any of those specific things were a mistake?

Boris Johnson: (24:52)
Jim, first of all, on your question about the overall government handling of the crisis, of course I take full responsibility for everything. All I would say humbly and respectfully to those who make criticisms of what the government and all my colleagues have been trying to do is that in situations like this, where you have such very, very brutal and difficult dilemmas, there are no easy answers. And very often, there are no good answers at all. The government has done its best, as I say, to protect life and to minimize suffering, and we’re going to continue to do that.

Boris Johnson: (25:32)
There will come a time, obviously, for the learning of lessons and there will be a full inquiry into everything in a moment to reflect and to understand and to prepare. But as I said earlier on in the house, and I think yesterday as well, I don’t believe that that time is right now when we have infection very high, the NHS battling heroically against this disease and the whole of British officialdom, really, fighting to control and defeat coronavirus. I don’t think it’s the right use of official time at the moment, but that moment surely will come.

Boris Johnson: (26:11)
And on your point about our friends in the EU, I just want to repeat that we’re very confident, Jim, of our contracts, very confident of our supply and the issues that you raise are really a matter for are you friends and the company’s concerned. But what I would say, and I think he’s very important stress this, we in the UK firmly believe that the creation of vaccines is a result of international exchange, international partnerships, and the distribution of vaccines around the world is also going to be a great multinational international effort. The UK leads as you know, Jim, in supporting COVAX, a great global initiative, to help ensure that people across the planet, in the poorest countries in the world, get the vaccines that we need. And I think we’re the second biggest funder in the world of that initiative.

Jim: (27:11)
How do you feel about the pressure being placed on AstraZeneca? Are you angry about it?

Boris Johnson: (27:16)
I admire the way you got in a supplementary there, Jim, but I will stick firmly to my lines, which is that I think that we’re confident in our supply, confident in the contracts that we have. I think that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is obviously very important for our country and for the world. And the matter in question is for the EU, our friends in the EU and AstraZeneca. Let’s go to the Dominic [inaudible 00:27:49] with The Metro.

Dominic: (27:49)
Hello, Prime Minister. Hello, Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (27:52)

Dominic: (27:53)
The head of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, has said he has no doubt that the number of people vaccinated in the UK will reach 28 to 30 million by the end of February, which would be enough for everyone over 50. Do you agree with his assessment? And you say you’re confident of our supply, but it’s not in your hands is it if AstraZeneca bows the use demand to divert supplies to Europe? And one for the scientists, if I may, should public health advice be changed now that it’s emerged that those infected with new variants are more… sorry, are less likely to lose their sense of smell and taste. And one quick one for Sir Patrick, you said last week that the evidence suggests the new UK variant is 30 to 40% more lethal for those who catch it. Has that figure been revised at all?

Boris Johnson: (28:56)
Dominic, I said what I’ve said about the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. It continues to be made in ever growing quantities in the UK, in Wrexham, as you know, and that will accelerate, the production schedules will continue to improve. But as to the numbers that Pascal quoted, I couldn’t confirm them, but all I can say is we’re confident of our supply and we’ll keep rolling out vaccines as fast as we possibly can. And I am very pleased at the moment that we have the fastest rollout of vaccines in Europe by some way.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (29:42)
Can you tackled the public health advice one?

JBT: (29:47)
Yeah. On the symptoms, look, these are kept under regular review. I believe that cough and fever are extremely important still in terms of the recognition of COVID-19. In addition, the public have now have access in very many-

JBT: (30:03)
In addition, the public now have access in very many places to lateral flow tests, where they can go for a test, even if they are asymptomatic. From that perspective, we’ll keep it under review.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (30:13)
And then on the question, just to be absolutely … The 30 to 70% figure is around transmissibility. It’s not on mortality. The new variant is between 30 and 70% more transmissible, spreads more easily. In terms of the mortality, what we said was that there is a signal of an increased mortality from certain data sets with quite a lot of uncertainty around it. And what I described was that if you took a 1,000 people in their 60s and asked the question, what would the impact be if those data turned out to be robust? You’d see something like 10 out of the 1,000 who got infected, dying with the old variant and 13 or 14 out of the 1,000 with the new. Obviously those numbers would be much lower with younger people who have much, much lower risk from it and a bit higher with older people who have a higher risk. That’s the situation as we saw it.

Sir Patrick Vallance: (31:10)
And we’ve got no real new data yet to update that, but there are more studies going on to look at it. But the 30 to 70% figure is on transmissibility and spread.

Boris Johnson: (31:21)
Thanks Dominic. Adam Vaughan, new scientist.

Adam Vaughn: (31:24)
Good afternoon. I want to pick up on this point, Carl and Tom raised earlier about vaccines and transmission and the early research in Israel. I just wanted to push you again on what preliminary data in the UK is telling you about the impact of vaccines. If you can’t say anything on the transmission, then can we say anything about the impact on severity of disease? For example, do we know if any vaccinated people who’ve been admitted to the hospital in the UK? And the question for you, Prime Minister, if the vaccines don’t reduce the spread enough, what’s your plan B, is it just keeping restrictions for longer?

Adam Vaughn: (31:53)
And finally, just a little postscript question, on a practical level last week you had a really good week for first doses on the vaccination. This week they’ve dropped. So just wondered why that is. Is it the supply? Is it the [inaudible 00:02:06], something else?

Boris Johnson: (32:10)
Do you want to take it?

Sir Patrick Vallance: (32:14)
On the vaccine data, I mean, we’ve got the data from Israel coming through and they’re quite rightly saying it’s preliminary. They’re seeing it from … I think the data come from one of their health care organizations, they’ve got four that work in the country. It’s preliminary and we saw people jumping on the initial preliminary figure of 33% and getting very excited about it. Now there’s a 60% plus figure that’s out. I think we’ve got to be extremely cautious and wait till we’ve got proper data. It’s too early to say what’s happening in the UK. It’s being looked at very, very carefully. I will say though, and this is important, that you shouldn’t expect to see nobody getting ill that’s been vaccinated. Vaccines are not 100% effective. We will still see people who get disease. We will still see people who get severe disease, but it will be much, much reduced with the vaccine. And we need to wait and look at the data and get proper estimates of that, rather than try to make early cuts and guesses as to what this is showing. I don’t know, Jonathan, would you want that?

JBT: (33:18)
I really think I have nothing to add on the vaccine effectiveness piece, except that I know that everyone is straining to get some information and we just can’t get it any faster than we can get it. We’ve actually got to give people time to be vaccinated and then exposed to COVID-19 to get that signal that they’re not becoming infected.

JBT: (33:43)
The first data will be on infections, followed by hospitalizations and followed by deaths, because they take longer to record in the system and they take longer to occur, as well, after the point of infection.

JBT: (33:57)
And on the vaccine rollout, really all I’d say is that having been privileged enough to be able to help with the vaccine rollout in three clinics in the Midlands where I live, I just want to pay a tribute to the staff, the professional staff and the volunteers who work these. Their spirit and dedication is really beyond compare and it’s an enormous privilege to see just how hard they are straining every sinew to get this vaccine out to people as quickly and as efficiently as they can.

Adam Vaughn: (34:33)
I don’t think anyone would disagree with that, obviously. Just wonder, do you know why? Do you have any idea why it’s dropped a bit this week?

Boris Johnson: (34:40)
Yes. Let me just say don’t forget that these are vaccines that have only just been invented and the batches are only just being approved. I think one of the things that we said at the beginning is that there will be bumps, there will be ups and downs, particularly in these early phases, as production gets underway.

Boris Johnson: (35:02)
You ask a very good question about, imagine a world in which the vaccines weren’t here and they weren’t working in the way that we want. I just remind you that we have made huge strides in our ability to test rapidly for this disease. That remains a resource. Mass testing, community testing, testing by businesses, using lateral flow tests, PCR tests, all sorts of other tests, remains an option. Indeed, something that should be actively encouraged, should continue to be done because you can pick up asymptomatic positives. It’s not the whole answer of course, but it is a very, very valuable thing to do that could help drive down the R. But I don’t think I’d be misrepresenting Patrick and scientific colleagues if I said that there’s a pretty overwhelming consensus that of the list of vaccines, six or seven that the UK has already bought in 360 million doses that we’ve bought already, there’s a pretty overwhelming consensus at least some of them will work very well. And we certainly think that Pfizer and AstraZeneca, as far as we can see, will work very well.

Boris Johnson: (36:24)
And that is the consensus of the moment. I just want to repeat what Jonathan said. My thanks to everybody who’s running this program. I think it is quite astonishing what they’re doing. The NHS, the army, pharmacists, chemists are joining in and growing our numbers. And of course, as JBT said, the volunteers.

Boris Johnson: (36:44)
Patrick, do you want to …

Sir Patrick Vallance: (36:45)
Yeah, just two things, really. One is 10 years ago we wouldn’t have had to do this. I mean, that is the extraordinary thing that’s happened. That new vaccine technologies have come along that’s allowed this to happen. 10 years ago, if this had happened, we would not be in this position. It’s remarkable. And the second point about the lumpiness of supply, this isn’t making widgets. These are complex, quality controlled biological processes. It’s not surprising that the supply goes up and down a bit. There will be changes week on week and that’s to be expected.

Boris Johnson: (37:18)
Thanks very much everybody. See you next time. Thank you.

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