Matt Hancock tells LBC he hopes we can have a 'normal summer' in 2021

8 December 2020, 08:17 | Updated: 8 December 2020, 09:00

By Megan White

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told LBC he hopes we can have a “normal summer” in 2021 as the Covid vaccine rollout began across the UK.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mr Hancock said “we can see the route out but we’ve still got a march ahead of us” in the fight against the virus.

He said he hopes Brits will not have to wear masks next year and said "I think that by spring we should be out of the measures."

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Mr Hancock spoke as a 90-year-old grandmother became the first patient to receive the coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

Asked whether he thought we’d be wearing masks for most of 2021, the Health Secretary said: “I don’t think so, I think that by spring we should be out of the measures, I really hope, and I hope that we have a normal summer this summer coming.

"I think people have gotten used to wearing masks in certain circumstances, but I want to get back to living by personal responsibility rather than living by laws that we've had to pass through Parliament, and now we can see the route to getting back to that."

Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs across the country from Tuesday - dubbed "V-Day" by Mr Hancock.

The Prime Minister said he was "immensely proud" of the scientists who have developed the new jab and praised NHS staff for working "tirelessly" to make the vaccine rollout happen.

But Mr Hancock urged Brits to continue following the rules after pictures from over the weekend showed huge crowds gathering in London and Nottingham with no social distancing.

He said: “We’ve got to hold our nerve, we’ve got to keep our resolve, because this is still a deadly disease.

“And until we can protect everybody who is very high risk if they catch the disease, until we can do that, we’ve got to stick together.

“I know that’s a bit of a downer on what is a wonderful day but it’s so important for all of us that we keep this under control until the vaccine can be rolled out.

“I’ve been saying endlessly for months, the strategy is keep the virus suppressed until the vaccine can make us safe.

“We are now one very big step closer to the vaccine making us safe but even for those who are vaccinated today, they need a second dose in three weeks time and then it takes a week to have full effect, so it’s in four weeks that they’ll be safe.

“We’ve got millions of people to vaccinate so we’ve got to hold our nerve.”