Another reason to delay is to get more people vaccinated. The government and NHS have a target of giving everyone the first dose by the end of July. A wait of four weeks could make a difference to the number of people over 50 who have been given two doses and therefore have maximum protection, as well as giving people in their 20s and 30s more time to have their first dose.
The Delta variant is more resistant to the vaccine, so a second dose is important for full protection – but protection doesn’t properly kick in until two weeks after having the second jab.
Health minister Edward Argar said if the lockdown easing were to be delayed for one month, another 10 million second doses could be issued. “If we’re going at a run rate of about 250,000 to 300,000 second jabs being done each day, a month gives you roughly 10 million,” he told BBC Breakfast.
Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, also told BBC Breakfast “buying extra weeks will provide greater protection and greater assurance”, allowing more adults to get a first or second dose of the vaccine.