Young people may have to stay in lockdown until vaccinated, expert suggests

10 January 2021, 13:16

By Seán Hickey

This respiratory infection expert couldn't rule out young people having to stay home until they get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Jeremy Brown is Professor of Respiratory Infection at UCL, and member of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation. Tom Swarbrick quizzed him right off the bat on lockdown easing.

He told Professor Brown advisers in Number 10 have suggested younger and lower risk people may be instructed to stay home until they've been vaccinated. He sought the Professor's view.

The JCVI member avoided a direct answer and told Tom that he has seen a "horrendously large increase in the number of people who are acutely sick," in his own hospital, with ICU capacity having to more than double to keep up.

He insisted that "the need to stop the spread of the virus is really acute," and suggested all precautions possible should be taken to achieve this.

"I don't quite know professor if that is a yes," Tom prodded. He looked for clarification.

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"We need to follow the regulations...of the Government, yes" Professor Brown clarified. He added that he couldn't suggest when restrictions should be relaxed, but the public should be completely safe beforehand.

Tom couldn't buy the Professor's suggestion, worrying that young, healthy people "are going to start saying 'can we have our lives back please?'"

Professor Brown concluded that these questions need to be asked when a significant amount of at-risk population are vaccinated.

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