All over-50s in England could be fully protected against Covid by July 1 — nearly two weeks after ‘Freedom Day’ — but it could take until September for all adults to have had two jabs, MailOnline analysis has revealed.
The figures will boost calls for the Government to delay easing all restrictions on June 21 for a fortnight in order to ensure the most vulnerable members of society have all had time for both doses to have had an effect.
And it comes amid claims that science chiefs Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance have spooked No10 into pushing back plans for the total unlocking by up a month, citing fears of a third wave. Experts say the vaccine forecast supports the case for a delay in reopening because one dose of vaccine can be as little as 30 per cent effective at blocking symptoms of the Indian coronavirus variant that is now dominant in the UK.
Cases are currently rising by around 40 per cent a week and new infections could be well above 15,000 a day by June 21 if the current pace of the outbreak continues, although it remains to be seen if the full vaccination of older Britons will keep hospital occupancy low.
But opponents of a postponement believe the vaccines have successfully broken the link between cases and hospitalisations, and argue the economic cost of a delay would be greater than that caused by a third wave this summer. Ministers are waiting for clearer data on how effective jabs are against the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, as well as how much more transmissible the mutant strain is, before pressing ahead with any unlocking plans.