Covid vaccine news UK – France jab crisis ‘makes 3rd WAVE inevitable’ as Germany begs citizens to take vaccine


FRANCE’S vaccine crisis has deepened after experts warned the country faces a third wave of coronavirus this year.

Experts at the country’s renowned Institut Pasteur say France’s current 100,000 jabs a day rollout has been ‘insufficient’ to stop a highly infectious strain of the virus that is currently ripping through France. 

The Institut predicts that by the time Britain aims to have vaccinated all over 50s in April, France will be facing a third massive surge in cases due to a huge amount of its population remaining unvaccinated.

While the UK hopes for a summer boom, the EU is still fighting a massive vaccine crisis and lockdowns show no signs of ending soon.

Having seemingly deliberately undermined confidence in the brilliant Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine simply as a way of bashing Britain post-Brexit, both France and Germany are now having to beg their citizens to take it.

Vaccine take-up in Europe is much lower than the UK, partly as a result of politicians like French leader Emmanuel Macron shamefully branding the UK-developed Oxford / Astra-Zeneca jab “quasi-ineffective”.

His reckless attempts to bash Britain left him red-faced, however, as the vaccine has since been shown to have staggeringly high efficacy in all age groups and he’s now begging citizens to take it to end their lockdown woes.

The front page of German newspaper Bild yesterday declared ‘Dear Brits, we envy you” with the attached article saying the UK’s ‘successful’ vaccine programme allowed Boris Johnson to promise a brighter future to Brits

It added that while the UK sees light at the end of the tunnel, Germany remains “stuck in lockdown” with Angela Merkel‘s government languishing well behind in handing out vaccine doses. 

Follow our live blog below for the very latest on the UK ‘s path out of lockdown

  • ENGLAND CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS SAYS HOSPITAL NUMBERS ARE ‘CONSTANTLY DECLINING’

    In a joint statement, the four chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director Stephen Powis said the numbers of patients in hospital was “consistently declining” but warned “we should be under no illusions” because deaths and infections are still high.

    The statement said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK chief medical officers and NHS England national medical director agree that the UK alert level should move from level five to level four in all four nations.

    “The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

    “We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

    “We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

  • BREAKING: UK COVID ALERT LEVEL DOWNGRADED TO AMBER

    The UK’s Covid alert level has today been downgraded, in a hopeful indicator that pressure on the NHS is lifting.

    Chief medical officers made the promising decision to pull the country down from its highest alert level, five, to a four.

    Read more here.

  • JOHNSON: NO ‘WIGGLE ROOM’ IN ROAD MAP WITH COVID CASES STILL HIGH

    Boris Johnson has said he will stick to his timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions, pledging to remain “cautious” in easing the lockdown.

    The Prime Minister this week set out a plan for incrementally reducing measures over the coming months in England, with the aim of scrapping all restrictions by June.

    On a visit to Accrington Academy in Lancashire on Thursday, Mr Johnson said the dates he set out continued to be the target “towards which people can work” given that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 remained “high”.

    According to Government data, there are 16,800 people in UK hospitals being treated for coronavirus symptoms.

  • MORE TESTING TO HIT WEST LONDON AFTER ‘SMALL NUMBER’ OF SA VARIANT CASES FOUND IN EALING

    Additional testing is to be rolled out in Ealing, west London after a “small number” of new cases of the South Africa coronavirus variant were found.

    The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Working in partnership with the London Borough of Ealing, additional testing and genomic sequencing is being deployed within the borough, where a small number of additional cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa have been found.

    People living in the borough are “strongly encouraged” to take a COVID-19 test when offered, the DHSC said.

  • DUP LEADERS DISCUSS OPPOSITION TO NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL WITH LOYALIST PARAMILITARY REPRESENTATIVES

    DUP leader Arlene Foster, along with deputy leader Nigel Dodds and East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson, have met with a representative group for loyalist paramilitaries over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    A party spokesman said they discussed opposition to the protocol within the community with the Loyalist Commission.

    “We listened to the views expressed and the need for political and constitutional methods to safeguard the United Kingdom single market and ensure there is an unfettered flow of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” he said.

  • MAPPED: THE EU’S VACCINE SHAMBLES

  • GAVIN WILLIAMSON REJECTS CLAIMS A ROTA SYSTEM COULD COME INTO FORCE IN SCHOOLS

    Gavin Williamson rejected suggestions that a rota system could be introduced in schools to help facilitate the return of pupils.

    Kate Green told MPs: “One way to reduce transmission of coronavirus is to allow schools to teach on a rota basis. Labour, school leaders and teachers have all asked (Mr Williamson) to consider this, he has refused. Why?”

    Mr Williamson responded: “It’s not a route that we want to go down to move into rotas, we do want to have on this side of the House all children back into full-time education. We think that’s the best place for children to be in schools, we think it’s important for them to be having full-time education in the classroom.

    “That is why… in the situation where we were able to welcome all children back, we felt that it was better to be able to welcome all children back into the classroom every day of every week.”

    He added: “Testing is going to be a very important part of keeping classrooms Covid-free. The rollout of testing, this has already been happening over the last seven weeks, has been incredibly successful.”

  • TORY EUROSCEPTICS DEMAND NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL IS DITCHED

    Tory Brexiteers have called on Boris Johnson to scrap the arrangements for Northern Ireland which he agreed with Brussels.

    The European Research Group (ERG) has published a report which concluded the Northern Ireland Protocol had a “profound and negative effect”.

    The protocol was designed by the EU and UK to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

    It achieves this by effectively creating a regulatory and customs border in the Irish Sea, with goods imported into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK subject to a range of new processes.

    This has caused some disruption to trade since it came into effect on December 31, and those difficulties could intensify significantly on April 1 when a grace period currently limiting the bureaucracy applied to imported supermarket goods ends.

  • DOWNING STREET DENIED PRISONERS WILL GET VACCINES AHEAD OF OTHER AGE GROUPS

    Downing Street has denied prisoners will be vaccinated against coronavirus ahead of other groups.

    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “That is obviously not the case and is not true. Prisoners won’t be prioritised for vaccines.

    “They are vaccinated at the same time as the general public in line with the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) prioritisation groups, no quicker than that.”

    The priority list for phase two of the vaccination programme, to jab under-50s without clinical conditions, is being awaited from the JCVI. The spokesman confirmed that, while the JCVI makes the recommendation, it is for ministers to make the final decision.

    “The JCVI make their recommendation and we take it forward in terms of the vaccination programme,” he said.

  • GERMANY HAS A ‘PROBLEM’ WITH VACCINE ROLLOUT

    Responding to Germany’s reluctance to get the jab, Professor Thomas Mertens told BBC Radio 4 that there was a “problem” in rolling out the vaccine in Germany.

    He said: “At the moment we have 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in-store and only about 240,000 doses have been given to the people, that is definitely a problem at the moment.”

    He added: “We are trying to convince people to accept that vaccine and build up the trust for the vaccine within the population.

    “But as you may know, there is a psychological problem too and it will take some time to reach this goal.”

  • CZECH REPUBLIC IN VACCINE CRISIS

    The Czech Republic will get 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from France by mid-March, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told CTK news agency on Thursday.

    The country has been struggling with resurgent infections in recent weeks and has sought help from allies. It has had one of the highest COVID-19 rates in the world in terms of infections and deaths per million people.

    The government is seeking to toughen lockdown measures and speed up inoculations to begin relieving hospitals, many of which are near capacity.

    Hit by supply issues, the Czech Republic is lagging the European Union average in vaccination rates according to the Our World in Data website.

    With a population of 10.7 million, it has administered 600,000 vaccine doses, including 226,780 people who have received both shots, according to Health Ministry data.

  • STURGEON LASHES OUT AT BORIS’ ‘MADE UP’ LOCKDOWN END DATE

    SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has lashed out at Boris Johnson’s ‘made up’ June 21 lockdown end date.

    Sturgeon addressed the PM’s target date as she took her daily briefing after unveiling her own rival ‘roadmap’.

    Her blueprint, which was even more cautious in key respects than in England, has sparked anger due to its failure to give any key dates beyond April.

    Sturgeon has promised to give another update in mid-March.  

  • PM WILL ‘STICK TO PLAN’ WHEN ASKED IF THERE IS WIGGLE ROOM ON COVID ROADMAP STEPS

    Asked about “wiggle room” on current plans to lift lockdown if the data suggests infections and hospital admissions are falling fast as the vaccines are rolled out, the Prime Minister said: “I think it’s very important to have a timetable that is sensible, that is cautious, but one that is also irreversible.

    “And that’s the virtue of the timetable we have set out. Everybody knows the dates – March 8, kids back in school, April 12, shops reopen, May 17 hospitality reopens, June 21, we hope, if all things go according to plan, a general reopening.

    “And I think those are a series of dates, towards which people can work and I think that the people of this country would rather trade some haste for some certainty and that’s why we’ve done it in the way that we have and we will still continue to stick to that plan.

    “We’re sticking to our plan, obviously we will continue to look at data but the data currently still shows, as you know, that the incidence of the disease, sadly remains high. I’m afraid the numbers of people in hospital are still not far below the peak that they were in April last year.

    “So we think that the road map that we’ve set out is a good and balanced one for us to get on a journey that is cautious, but as I say irreversible as well.”

  • WATCH: PM CALLS EXAM COMPROMISE ‘FAIR AND DURABLE’

    Boris Johnson calls exam compromise ‘fair and durable’ as students continue to suffer during Covid pandemic
  • BORIS JOHNSON HAILS PLANS FOR TEACHERS TO GRADE PUPILS AS ‘A GOOD COMPROMISE’

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the plans for teachers to grade pupils this summer were a “good compromise” as he backed Education Secretary Gavin Williamson following last year’s exams row.

    On a visit to Accrington Academy in Lancashire on Thursday morning, Mr Johnson said: “I think in an ideal world you would not have taken kids out of school because of the pandemic, we wouldn’t have been forced to do this and in an ideal world we’d be continuing with exams as you normally have them, and the best place for kids is in the classroom and the best way to check on kids’ progress is with normal exams.

    “But I think this is as good a compromise as we can come to. I think it will be fair, I think it will be durable and it’s the right way forward.”

    Asked if he had confidence in the Education Secretary, the Prime Minister replied: “Of course, and I think that what we are doing is the right thing to get all our students, our pupils, back on March 8, I think that is what parents, teachers and overwhelmingly what pupils want to do, and I’ve just been talking to some of them here at Accrington Academy and they are really looking forward to it.

    “They have done very well, learning remotely, they’ve stuck with it, it’s been productive and got better over the course of the lockdowns, but the best place for kids is in schools and they have got absolutely no doubt about it the pupils themselves.”

  • WHAT IS THE LONG TERM PLAN FOR KIDS TO CATCH UP?

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also confirmed a long-term plan will be developed to help children catch up.

    He told MPs an “incredible” amount of work has been done to minimise the impact of the pandemic, adding: “I know from the research we’ve been conducting that it won’t be enough.

    “Many children are going to need longer-term support to make up for lost learning.

    “We want families to know that there will be support for schools and for our children.

    “Sir Kevan Collins, our education recovery commissioner, will be working with parents, teachers and schools on a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of their education.”

  • WHAT DID GAVIN WILLIAMSON SAY IN THE COMMONS TODAY?

    The education secretary outlined in the House of Commons how kids will get back to school, including:

    • £200million extra cash for secondary schools for summer schools
    • Face coverings for kids in classrooms until at least Easter – where it will then be reviewed
    • Two tests a week for kids – the first two at home
    • More than 4 million tests have already been completed across primary, secondary schools, colleges and universities
    • Primary school staff will still get two tests a week, but the kids won’t have them
    • Staggered start times at schools and bubble groups will continue to keep them safe
    • Ministers confirmed face masks and Covid tests aren’t mandatory for students
  • GAVIN WILLIAMSON TELLS MPs NEW GRADING APPROACH WILL BE ‘FAIR AND ROBUST’

    Mr Williamson told the Commons today there was widespread support for the approach they were setting out which was “fair and robust”.

    He added: “Our priority is and has always been to make sure that every student has the best possible chance to show what they know and can do, enabling them to progress to the next stage of their education, training or employment.”

    After schools have been shut for many pupils for weeks, he stressed “the end is very clearly in sight” and rates have come down enough to get all kids back from March 8 in England.

    They will only be graded on the work they have done, and not the work they’ve missed.

    Teachers can choose a range of work including tests, coursework and mock exams to help decide the grades.

    Read more here.

  • JANUARY LOCKDOWN SAW 700,000 MORE WORKERS FURLOUGHED

    The number of people on furlough ballooned by around 700,000 in January as harsher lockdown restrictions were imposed at the beginning of the month.

    Around 4.7 million people were furloughed on January 31, up from four million a month earlier, the Treasury revealed on Thursday.

    It means that in total, 11.2 million employees across the UK have been given cash under the scheme, which pays up to 80% of salaries to those who cannot work because of Covid-19 restrictions.

    As of February 15, a total of £53.8 billion had been claimed since the furlough scheme began last year.

    The data shows lockdown has hit the accommodation and food services sector worst, as it furloughed 1.15 million people, with 68% of employers tapping into the scheme – an increase of three percentage points since December 31.

  • SHOP TIL YOU DROP

    Rishi Sunak has been urged to give Brits free high street vouchers in next week’s budget as part of a ‘Shop Out to Help Out’ scheme.

    Influential think-tank The Resolution Foundation says the Chancellor must pump £30billion into business bailouts, furlough and a Shop Out to Help Out voucher scheme to aid the high street.

    Read more here.

  • 1.7 MILLION RAPID TESTS ADMINISTERED IN ENGLAND LAST WEEK

    A total of 1,756,402 lateral flow device (LFD) tests for Covid-19, or rapid tests, were conducted in England in the week to February 17, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

    This is down from a record 2,401,651 rapid tests in the previous week.

    The Department of Health said the drop coincided with school half-term holidays.

    LFD tests are swab tests that give results in 30 minutes or less, without the need for processing in a laboratory.

    By contrast, 1,116,433 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were conducted in the week to February 17. PCR tests are swab tests that are processed in a laboratory.

  • KIDS COMPANY FOUNDER DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM MICHAEL GOVE AND CRITICISES ‘SMEAR CAMPAIGN’

    Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh has demanded Michael Gove apologise to children who lost support from the collapsed charity after she won a High Court disqualification battle.

    She accused the senior minister on Thursday of having been “really disingenuous” and hit out over a “smear campaign”, accusing former Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings of briefing against the organisation.

    The charity, which supported vulnerable young people in London and Bristol, had a number of famous backers, including former prime minister David Cameron, but it was wound up in 2015.

    The closure came shortly after police launched a subsequently-dropped investigation into unfounded allegations of abuse and exploitation, following the broadcast of a BBC Newsnight report.

    Earlier this month, the charity’s trustees said they had been “exonerated” when Mrs Justice Falk concluded after a 10-week trial that no disqualification order should be made against them.

  • WATCH: BRITS PM’S COVID RULE END DATE OF JUNE 21 IS TO COINCIDE WITH HIS BIRTHDAY

    Brits joke Boris Johnson’s Covid rule end date of June 21 is to coincide with his birthday
  • GOVERNMENT WORKING ‘FLAT OUT’ TO REMOVE US TARIFFS ON SCOTTISH GOODS

    Liz Truss told MPs the Government is working “flat out” to ensure US tariffs on Scottish goods are removed.

    Conservative MP John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk) asked what the Government is doing to ensure US tariffs on Scotch whisky and cashmere are repealed.

    The International Trade Secretary replied: “These tariffs are damaging on both sides of the Atlantic.

    “Today we are seeing the confirmation hearing of the new US trade representative and as soon as that is finished I will be on the phone to her seeking an early resolution of these issues.”

    Pressed again on the matter by SNP MP David Linden (Glasgow East), Ms Truss added: “I can assure you that the Prime Minister is exercised about this issue as am I and we are working flat out to get an agreement to make sure that these tariffs are removed.”

  • TORY EUROSCEPTICS DEMAND NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL IS DITCHED

    Tory Brexiteers have called on Boris Johnson to scrap the arrangements for Northern Ireland which he agreed with Brussels.

    The European Research Group (ERG) has published a report which concluded the Northern Ireland Protocol had a “profound and negative effect”.

    The protocol was designed by the EU and UK to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

    It achieves this by effectively creating a regulatory and customs border in the Irish Sea, with goods imported into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK subject to a range of new processes.

    This has caused some disruption to trade since it came into effect on December 31, and those difficulties could intensify significantly on April 1 when a grace period currently limiting the bureaucracy applied to imported supermarket goods ends.

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