He replied: “That’s a really important question. And what I am saying to people when I give them the vaccine when I work in the vaccine clinics is this, that, until we have vaccinated literally tens of millions of people and we are beginning to establish a vaccinated population and we are seeing the levels of disease in the community, which are high right now, really high, properly coming down and staying down.
“And until we have the data that assures us that the vaccines are highly effective, as I expect them to be, all of the rules still apply I’m afraid, even if you’ve had your first dose of vaccine.”
Prof Van-Tam told people not to assume they will have any protection until at least 21 days have elapsed after their first dose.
“Much as you would like to see your grandchildren and look after them again.
“As much as I desperately would like to see my mum, but can’t, all of the rules I’m afraid just have to apply to us all for a little bit longer.
“You know, these are the hard yards, they really are, and I know that, but we are so tantalisingly close now, maybe just a few months away from the vaccine rollout changing all of our lives for the better.
“So we’ve just got to keep the faith and stick with it I’m afraid, for just a teeny bit longer,” he said.
Prof Van-Tam was asked if he will be looking to go on holiday abroad this summer and what advice he would give to his mother about holidays after she gets her jab.
“My mum I don’t think would go abroad on holiday anyway. I think it’s very difficult to judge whether it’s going to be possible or advisable to go abroad this summer.
“I think we have to wait and see a little longer how things play out in terms of the whole international situation, but obviously for us as people who live very close to mainland Europe where many of us go on holiday, you know, I think it’s a difficult and dynamic and moving situation,” he said.