Harsh Covid-19 restrictions will have to stay in place longer if Britons refuse to be vaccinated, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer has warned.
Jonathan Van-Tam said the entire country was “fed up” with social distancing – but said “the dream” of ending it lay in the hands of ordinary people, weighing up whether to have a jab.
“If you want that dream to come true as quickly as it can come true, then you have to take the vaccine when it’s offered to you,” he told a press conference.
“Low uptake will almost certainly make restrictions last longer.”
Professor Van-Tam said he believed the days of the government recommending social distancing and mask-wearing would end, as “we get back to a much more normal world”.
But he also warned: “I don’t think we are going to eradicate coronavirus ever – I think it is going to be with humankind forever.”
He suggested it might become “a seasonal problem”, like flu, but there would be no moment for a “massive party”, akin to the end of the Second World War.
“I think those kinds of habits that we learned, that clearly stop the spread of other respiratory diseases like flu, will perhaps persist for many years.”