Week Ahead: Oxford vaccine jabs begin as ‘Megxit’ anniversary arrives
TURNING THE TIDE
While the nation is in an extremely bleak situation with coronavirus at the moment, fresh hope that the position will improve in the coming weeks and months is being offered by the arrival of the Oxford vaccine from Monday.
Following the jab being approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week, an initial 530,000 doses are available to start vaccinating those most at risk.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week he was “highly confident that we can get enough vulnerable people vaccinated by the spring that we can now see the route out of this pandemic”.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine, enough to vaccinate 50 million people. Officials also pre-ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab which is already in use – enough for 20 million people.
The plan is to vaccinate all vulnerable groups first, with all adults eventually offered the jab.
More than a million people have already received their first coronavirus vaccination but the UK’s chief medical officers have urged doctors to back “decisive action” to combat the “pandemic which is running rampant in our communities”.
A total of 44 million people, or 78 per cent of the population of England, are now living under the toughest Tier 4 measures - although all of Yorkshire currently stands in Tier 3.
Friday will mark the first anniversary of the shock announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that they were stepping down as senior royals.
Harry and Meghan initially wanted to have a dual role, supporting the Queen and earning their own money, but this was deemed unworkable and the couple faced what has been dubbed ‘a hard Megxit’.
Now based in America, the couple set out their ambitious goal to “build a better world” on New Year’s Eve on the website of their non-profit organisation Archewell.
Harry, describing himself as “my mother’s son”, issued a joint statement with Meghan inviting people to join their campaign to make a difference “one act of compassion at a time”.
The duke and duchess have also announced partnerships between their foundation and several tech and research-focused organisations to pursue their aims.
Since leaving their positions as senior royals, the couple have made millions from deals with Spotify and Netflix.
Halifax will publish its latest house price study on Friday morning in what is expected to provide further good news for property owners.
Its assessment comes after Nationwide Building Society found house prices saw their strongest annual growth for six years in 2020 as the market was spurred on by tax breaks and changing demand amid the pandemic.
Nationwide said the average UK house price jumped 7.3 per cent this year to £230,920 after rising 0.8 per cent in December alone. The report revealed that prices have jumped 5.3 per cent since March, when the pandemic struck, after demand was sent surging by a stamp duty holiday and the shift to homeworking.
UP FOR THE CUP
The FA Cup third round remains one of the highlights of the football calendar and although matches will be taking place behind closed doors this weekend, supporters of Yorkshire clubs will be hoping their sides can take a step closer to Wembley. Highlights include Rotherham taking on Everton.
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