End of pandemic within our grasp thanks to vaccine rollout – The Yorkshire Post says

THERE have been so many false dawns in the struggle against Covid-19 that caution still needs to be Boris Johnson’s watchword as he balances a desire to fully reopen the economy on June 21 with the potential threat to public health posed by the Indian variant and other new strains.

Boris Johnson is considering the latest Covid and vaccine data this week.

Yet, as the PM considers the latest data, there’s a growing sense that this week could truly mark the start of beginning of the end of the pandemic, certainly here in Britain, if the country holds its nerve.

Not only have more than 60 million vaccine doses been administered across the UK – the ‘end of the beginning’ came when Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world last December to be inoculated – but the indications are that two doses do, in fact, offer sufficient protection from the Indian variant.

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Meanwhile there’s every likelihood that people in their 20s will very soon be invited to receive their first jab, another milestone as the Government attempts to complete the first phase of the nationwide vaccine rollout by the end of July.

The Duke of Cambridge received his first Covid jab last week. Photo: Kensington Palace.

And it will be take-up rate amongst this younger cohort that will be critical to the country’s future fortunes – every day of lockdown is another drag on the economy. For, while younger people have been less susceptible to the most serious effects of Covid than senior citizens or those with underlying health conditions, they’re also amongst the most sceptical when it comes to vaccines.

That is why the example set by role models respected by the young will be so important – and why the Government’s messaging might require a subtle shift of emphasis in the coming days and weeks.

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People queue in Bolton for Covid jabs following fears over the Indian variant.