Oxford vaccine arrives

The first Oxford vaccine dose has been delivered in the UK. 

Dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, has become the first person to be vaccinated with the new Covid-19 jab after getting the dose at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital.

Britain has 530,000 doses of the newly approved vaccine ready to go. Six hospitals across England will be the first to deliver the vaccine. The programme will then expand to include hundreds of other centres across the country in the coming days.

The Government hopes it will deliver tens of millions of doses within the coming months.

Britain has already delivered the most vaccinations of any European nation.

Matt Hancock has not ruled out the prospect of another national lockdown due to the fast-spreading nature of the new “mutant” strain of the virus.

The Health Secretary said: “This new variant is much easier to catch, it is much more transmissible, and we’re now seeing the effect of that in lots of different parts of the country, unfortunately.

“And it means that whereas the old Tier 3 measures would have able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country.”

When asked about whether tier 4 restrictions worked in controlling the virus, Hancock added: “It is down to people’s behaviour, frankly. What matters is, yes of course, the rules that we put in place, but it is also about how people act.”

Secondary schools in England are staggering their return to face-to-face learning. Pupils taking exams in 2021 will now start on 11 January, with other year groups returning in person on 18 January.