politics

Covid vaccine news UK – Queen blasts people ‘selfishly’ refusing to take vaccine and urges them ‘think of others’


FRANCE’S vaccine crisis has deepened after experts warned the country faces a third wave of coronavirus this year.

Experts at the country’s renowned Institut Pasteur say France’s current 100,000 jabs a day rollout has been ‘insufficient’ to stop a highly infectious strain of the virus that is currently ripping through France. 

The Institut predicts that by the time Britain aims to have vaccinated all over 50s in April, France will be facing a third massive surge in cases due to a huge amount of its population remaining unvaccinated.

While the UK hopes for a summer boom, the EU is still fighting a massive vaccine crisis and lockdowns show no signs of ending soon.

Having seemingly deliberately undermined confidence in the brilliant Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine simply as a way of bashing Britain post-Brexit, both France and Germany are now having to beg their citizens to take it.

Vaccine take-up in Europe is much lower than the UK, partly as a result of politicians like French leader Emmanuel Macron shamefully branding the UK-developed Oxford / Astra-Zeneca jab “quasi-ineffective”.

His reckless attempts to bash Britain left him red-faced, however, as the vaccine has since been shown to have staggeringly high efficacy in all age groups and he’s now begging citizens to take it to end their lockdown woes.

The front page of German newspaper Bild yesterday declared ‘Dear Brits, we envy you” with the attached article saying the UK’s ‘successful’ vaccine programme allowed Boris Johnson to promise a brighter future to Brits

It added that while the UK sees light at the end of the tunnel, Germany remains “stuck in lockdown” with Angela Merkel‘s government languishing well behind in handing out vaccine doses. 

Follow our live blog below for the very latest on the UK ‘s path out of lockdown

  • HANCOCK TO LEAD 5PM BRIEFING

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock will lead a press briefing at 5pm today and reveal those next in line for the Covid vaccine.

    The Health Secretary will speak this afternoon to confirm ministers will back the scientists when deciding who gets the jabs after the over-50s.

    It’s been reported that the government will continue prioritising people by age, with Brits in their 40s, followed by those in the 30s, and so on.

    Read the full details here.

    Matt Hancock will lead today's press briefing at 5pm
    Matt Hancock will lead today’s press briefing at 5pm
  • QUEEN NOT INTERFERING IN POLITICS – BUCKLAND

    Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has rejected suggestions that the Queen was interfering in politics by encouraging people to have a coronavirus vaccination.

    He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “As is so often the case in our history, the Queen can, just with a few words, encapsulate the mood of the nation.

    “I think we can trust the Queen to get it right. An issue like the vaccine and indeed the Covid pandemic goes beyond politics.

    “Messages of unity are very much part of what the Queen is all about. She has got it right for nearly 70 years. She continues not to put a foot wrong.”

  • CORONAVIRUS HAS MADE UK LOOK DYSFUNCTIONAL, SAYS GORDON BROWN

    The coronavirus crisis has made the UK look “dysfunctional” at times due to a lack of co-operation between administrations, Gordon Brown has said.

    In an article on devolution for the Scottish Fabians think tank, the former prime minister also said Boris Johnson risks becoming the “biggest recruiting sergeant for nationalism” due to his position on devolution.

    Mr Brown authored part of a report for the Scottish Fabians which was released on Friday ahead of the results of the Scottish Labour leadership election.

    The report says the Labour Party, in Scotland and across the UK, must find a way to articulate the purpose of the United Kingdom.

    In a section of the report titled “state of the nation”, Mr Brown accuses Mr Johnson of undermining devolution with the post-Brexit Internal Market Act.

  • PRISONERS NOT GIVEN PRIORITY FOR VACCINE

    The Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said prisoners will not be given priority for the Covid vaccine but refused to rule out vaccinating them en masse.

    “Prisoners will not be getting priority. At the moment they are vaccinated in accordance with the current guidelines, in accordance with what is happening in the community,” he told LBC.

    “What is clear is that the need for speed is everything here. I will be supporting anything that gives us speed and maximises the impact that it has.

    “Prisons are a closed environment, like care homes. I have got to think about the welfare of staff. I am particularly anxious to make sure that prison staff get the vaccine.

    “I very much hope the JCVI will reinforce that message and allow ministers to make that informed decision as soon as possible.”

  • MORE FROM SEMPLE

    “There is really good data coming out … that shows that children are half as likely to acquire the virus to a third as likely to acquire the virus.

    “When it comes to transmitting, they are probably half as likely to transmit it as adults.

    “That risk actually gets smaller as you go into younger age groups.

    “So I am not a great fan of young children wearing face masks.”

    He said he agrees that young children will find it difficult to wear the masks properly.

  • OPENING WINDOWS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN MASKS FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL KIDS – GOVT ADVISOR

    Keeping windows open and improving ventilation in schools is much more effective at reducing coronavirus transmission than asking young children to wear face masks, a Government scientific adviser has said.

    Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he is “not a fan” of asking young children to wear masks, and there are better strategies for managing the virus.

    It came after some schools, including Selsdon Primary School in Croydon, south London, said pupils must wear face coverings at all times, except during sports lessons or when eating or drinking.

    A statement from the school said: “This decision was solely based on keeping our staff, pupils and their families safe in the current situation.”

    But Prof Semple, speaking in a personal capacity, said: “Primary school children are the lowest risk both to themselves and to society.”

  • MINISTER WELCOMES QUEEN’S COVID INTERVENTION

    Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has welcomed the intervention of the Queen encouraging people to get the Covid jab.

    Buckland told LBC: “I think anything the Queen says has immense power.

    “She was implying that it was not only good for our own health but that it was also an altruistic act, and that in doing so we all collectively enhance the safety of others.

    “The message of encouragement, information, support for people who have never had a vaccine before is hugely important.

    “I think the Queen again in her usual way has helped reinforce that important message.”

  • BRIT JAILED AND FINED OVER BREAKING COVID RESTRICTIONS

    A Brit has been sentenced to two weeks in jail and fined 1,000 Singapore dollars ($753) on Friday for breaking a coronavirus quarantine order in Singapore.

    Nigel Skea is the first Briton to be jailed for flouting coronavirus rules in the city-state. A handful had their work passes revoked and paid fines.

    Skea left his room at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore on three occasions last September, according to charge sheets. He wasn’t wearing a mask.

    On one of the occasions, he climbed an emergency stairwell and entered a room that his Singaporean fiancee had booked. They spent nine hours together.

    Skea, who pleaded guilty to two charges of flouting the rules, arrived at the State Courts on Friday with Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai, whom he has since married.

    Eyamalai pleaded guilty to one charge of aiding Skea. She was sentenced to a week in jail.

  • FRANCE UNABLE TO AVOID NEW LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS

    France will not be able to avoid new lockdown measures given the increase in Covid-19 cases, the head of a Paris hospital emergencies unit told BFM TV on Friday.

    “I do not understand what we are waiting for,” said Philippe Juvin, adding the hospital situation was “very tense” in the Paris region.

    The French government will study a proposition for Paris to undergo a three-week lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, said government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

    “Clearly, this will be studied,” Attal told France Inter radio on Friday, although he added he had some doubts over whether or not such a short lockdown would have an effect.

    The Paris deputy mayor had said on Thursday that Paris would submit a three-week lockdown plan to the government. French Prime Minister Jean Castex had earlier said France would impose measures including weekend lockdowns in Paris and 19 other regions from the start of March if Covid-19 trends worsened.

  • STURGEON LASHES OUT AT BORIS’ ‘MADE UP’ LOCKDOWN END DATE

    SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has lashed out at Boris Johnson’s ‘made up’ June 21 lockdown end date.

    Sturgeon addressed the PM’s target date as she took her daily briefing after unveiling her own rival ‘roadmap’.

    Her blueprint, which was even more cautious in key respects than in England, has sparked anger due to its failure to give any key dates beyond April.

    Sturgeon has promised to give another update in mid-March.  

  • BEGUM COURT FEARS

    MINISTERS fear a ­possible Supreme Court defeat today which would pave the way for runaway jihadi bride Shamima Begum’s UK return.

    The Government has fought to stop her being granted the right to come back to appeal after she was stripped of her ­British passport.

    Begum was 15 when she left Bethnal Green in East London and married an IS terrorist in Syria.

  • BEER BUDGET

    A GROUP of 68 Tory MPs have broken cover to demand Rishi Sunak slash beer duty at next week’s Budget.

    They say pubs are already on their knees and the Chancellor should throw them a lifeline to save the local boozer.

    Meanwhile, telly star Kate Thornton has blasted the ‘sexist’ higher booze duty on wine and urged the Chancellor to act.

  • TAKEAWAY PINTS

    BOOZERS will be able to serve takeaway pints when the open up for outdoor service on April 12.

    Downing Street confirmed that alcohol to-go will be allowed in step two of the reopening after lockdown.

    But punters sitting in beer gardens will still have to order booze via table service – as queueing at the bar is banned.

  • GAPS IN UK REGULATION FOLLOWING BREXIT TRANSITION PERIOD – ACADEMIC REPORT

    Authorities in the UK were ill-prepared to assume responsibility for regulation from the EU following the transition period, according to an academic report.

    The wide-ranging report found that UK bodies were not ready to take on their new responsibilities from January 1 this year, and that gaps in this area still remain.

    It also questions whether existing authorities are well enough equipped to carry on such responsibilities compared to the bodies they have replaced, due to staffing, budgets and expertise.

    Researchers from a number of universities contributed to the review coordinated by The UK in a Changing Europe, the Centre for Competition Policy, and Brexit and Environment.

  • VACCINE PASSPORT COULD TAKE AT LEAST ‘THREE MONTHS’ SAYS EU CHIEF

    Ursula von der Leyen last night warned it will take the EU “at least three months” to put in place plans for vaccine passports.

    The news means they won’t be ready until the start of June at the earliest, in a blow to British sun seekers.

    Under the PM’s roadmap out of lockdown international travel is set to be allowed again on May 17.

    After a video call with EU leaders the Commission chief said she didn’t to get people’s expectations up “too high, too early”.

    She added: “Member States will need to move fast if we want such a green certificate to be in place by summer.”

  • VAXX PRIORITIES

    Teachers and coppers will not be able to jump the vaccine queue, it will be confirmed today.

    Despite massive pressure to speed up jabs for some in the public sector, the rollout is to continue being distributed on an age basis.

    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will confirm the priority order of the next phase of vaccines that will not take into account any professions.

    Ministers aim to have all UK adults jabbed by July, and the next cohorts will be those 49 to 40, then 39 – 30 and all under 30s.

    Under 18s are not approved for the jab yet.

  • EARLY EVIDENCE DETECTED OF ‘PROTECTIVE IMPACT’ OF COVID VACCINE

    Strong early evidence has been seen in Ireland of a protective impact from the coronavirus vaccine.

    As of February 22, 359,616 doses of the coronavirus vaccine – 226,291 first doses and 133,325 second doses – had been administered.

    Professor Philip Nolan said “significant progress” is being made in the pandemic.

    And “very hearteningly” he said “we are beginning to see strong early evidence of a protective impact of vaccination” in the cohorts who are receiving the jab.

    He said the seven-day moving average of cases over the week to Wednesday was 737, down from 816 in the previous week.

    The daily number of new cases reported on Thursday was 613.

  • COVID VACCINE ROLLOUT IN THE UK

  • CONTINUED

    Yarmouth and Freshwater on the Isle of Wight came out on top having vaccinated 57.5 per cent of the population – a total of 5,451 first doses.

    This was closely followed by Sidmouth Town in Devon at 57.3 per cent, and Felixstowe East in Suffolk at 54.75 per cent.

    In fourth and fifth place were two areas of West Sussex – Selsey (53.17 per cent) and Ferring & Kingston Gorse (52.85 per cent).

    But, 77 districts have vaccinated fewer than 10 per cent of residents, based on NHS figures and Office for National Statistics population estimates.

    Cathedral and Kelham in Sheffield came bottom, having vaccinated just 3.19 per cent of its 21,171 residents.

  • JAB LOTTERY

    New figures reveal a postcode lottery for Covid vaccines with some areas way ahead of others.

    Almost 60 per cent of ALL adults in one part of the Isle of Wight have had their first jab – but the rate is 20 times lower in one area of Sheffield.

    NHS statistics show nine in 10 over-65s in England had received their first dose of the vaccine by February 21.

    And analysis by the MailOnline suggests 15 areas of the country have jabbed at least half of all their residents.

  • CONTINUED

    EU vaccine figures are vastly behind Britain – with the UK having 27 per cent of citizens receiving the first jab as opposed to 6 per cent in the EU.

    And more than one million doses of the jab are currently going unused in Germany.

    It comes after a poorly judged campaign in which the governments of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron scaremongered about the British-made AZ vaccine – suggesting it didn’t work in over-65s.

    And they were branded “monumentally stupid” for their actions which have led to widespread vaccine scepticism in both France and Germany.

  • ON THE BRINK

    The EU’s catastrophic failure over its vaccine rollout will push more nations to leave the ailing bloc and trigger a fresh wave Euroscepticism, experts have said. 

    France and Germany face another lockdown after they played politics and attempted to shun the Oxford AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine as the killer virus looks set to surge again across Europe.

    Robert Oulds, director of think tank The Bruges Group, told The Sun Online the vaccine crisis could be the start of the “unraveling” of the EU. 

    “The EU has failed, and after this we will see a pushback against the EU which will lead to a dismantling of it – first gradually, then quickly,” he said.

    Other experts agreed the vaccine crisis will shake the union short term as scepticism will surge  – but did not believe the latest row is the death knell for the EU.

  • CONTINUED

    No spending or taxation plans have been confirmed ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, but there are suggestions Conservative MPs could rebel if it contains sizeable tax hikes.

    The Times reported that officials are considering plans to increase corporation tax from 19% to 25%.

    The Prime Minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, told reporters on Thursday that No 10 would consider votes against the Government’s Budget by Tory MPs as a confidence issue, meaning they could be stripped of the whip.

  • TORY MPS WARNED THEY COULD LOSE PARTY WHIP IF THEY REBEL OVER BUDGET

    Downing Street has warned Conservative MPs they could lose the party whip if they vote against next week’s Budget, amid suggestions there could be a rebellion over a possible increase to corporation tax.

    The warning came on Thursday as Tory former chancellor Lord (Philip) Hammond urged Boris Johnson to risk unpopularity by telling the public “some difficult home truths” about the damage the coronavirus pandemic has caused to the economy.

    Former prime minister David Cameron warned Chancellor Rishi Sunak that tax rises “wouldn’t make any sense at all” as the nation opens back up from lockdown.

  • NI SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN RISKS MAKING CHILDREN SECOND CLASS CITIZENS – MINISTER

    Northern Ireland risks treating its children as second class citizens if it does not accelerate the pace of school reopening, the Education Minister has warned.

    Peter Weir said the region was an “outlier” compared with faster reopening plans elsewhere in the UK and the Irish Republic.

    Mr Weir and his DUP colleagues are urging Stormont Executive colleagues to revisit a plan for primary school children in P1 to P3 to return on March 8.

    Under the plan, unanimously agreed by the Executive last week, secondary school children in key exam years – years 12-14 – will return two weeks later.

    On that date, P1 to P3 will revert to remote learning for another week.





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