New vaccines minister Maggie Throup insists: Plan A is working

24 October 2021, 10:55 | Updated: 24 October 2021, 22:17

By Elizabeth Haigh

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup has insisted on LBC that "Plan A is working" in her first broadcast interview since taking up the post.

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Speaking to Iain Dale, Ms Throup refused to comment on whether further restrictions would be needed amid rising infection rates, saying: "Plan A is working. The data right now shows that Plan A is working."

She refused to be drawn on when further coronavirus restrictions might be implemented.

She told Iain "it would be remiss" of the government "not to have contingencies" and said "Plan A has actually opened up people's lives."

Challenged on her assertion the plan is working, as daily Covid cases hit 44,985 yesterday, the vaccines minister highlighted the lower hospitalisation rates compared to earlier in the pandemic.

It comes as leading medical experts including the chief executive of the NHS Confederation call for tighter restriction and the introduction of Plan B to curb infection rates.

Prof Neil Ferguson, a leading member of Sage, has also said he believes Plan B could be implemented throughout winter.

But PM Boris Johnson and Health Minister Sajid Javid have both ruled out a return to lockdown in England.

"We're in a very different place now," she said, adding: "Vaccines are saving lives, vaccines are preventing hospitalisations."

Read more: PM says vaccines are the 'way through winter' and repeats plea for booster jabs

She said vaccines have already saved 130,000 lives and prevented 120 million infections.

Asked about the government's attempts to combat vaccine misinformation, Ms Throup said: "False information is really really dangerous and it's costing lives, and there's no place for that at all."

"Where pupils and teachers are being intimidated that's unacceptable, ignore that, there's no place in our successful vaccine campaign for that misinformation."

According to Ms Throup the government are constantly combatting misinformation, including launching a new campaign on Friday targeted at people who have not yet had the vaccine.

Read more: Govt must step up jabs and Covid prevention measures, expert says

She maintained the UK's vaccine rollout has been successful in building "a wall of defence" despite admitting around 4.7 million people have not yet come forward for their first jab.

She told LBC "people of all ages are vulnerable" to coronavirus and urged those eligible for a booster to phone 119 or go online to book their jab if they are not contacted within a week.

People only become eligible for a booster jab six months after their second dose.

She concluded: "Get your vaccine, protect yourself and save lives."