Those who have received both Covid-19 vaccination jabs have been warned to remain “careful” when meeting up with friends and family.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi stressed a need for those who are fully-vaccinated to remain vigilant despite being fully protected.
Speaking to Sky News he said: “At the moment only one in four adults have actually had the two doses.
“We are accelerating doses – April is a big second dose month – but let me show the flip side of why we have to be careful.
“If the vaccines have 85% efficacy and we vaccinate fully 85% of the adult population, that is still only 72% protection – that is quite a sizeable percentage for the virus to go after and infect, which is why we have to be careful.
He added, however, that the “good news” is there’s no evidence leading ministers to believe “we can’t meet the next step in May and, ultimately, June 21.
“It is much better to be careful and follow the data and collect the data properly, analyse and then make a decision rather than – we all want obviously to get our freedoms back as quickly as possible but let us do this properly and let’s do it safely.”
Asked whether restrictions would be lifted in line with the road map, Zahawi said: “The data is looking good and positive but nevertheless we really have to be careful because what we don’t want is mutations, for example, to blindside us and then have another spike.”
His comments come Matt Hancock said the UK remains on track to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to all adults by the end of July earlier this month.
Matt Hancock has described it as a “privilege” to get his first coronavirus vaccination at London’s Science Museum, and thanked England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, for administering the jab.
The Health Secretary tweeted a picture of the moment he was given his first dose, describing the process as quick and painless.
Mr Hancock said he was “very excited” when he was called for the jab and encouraged everyone invited for a Covid-19 vaccination to take up the offer.
Speaking after receiving his first vaccine, Hancock said: “Over 47 million doses have now been administered across the country, thanks not only to hundreds of hospitals, GP clinics and pharmacies, but to incredible sites like this that have volunteered their unused spaces.
“The rollout continues at pace and we are on track to reach our target of offering all adults a first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.
“I was very excited when my call came, and I’d urge everyone to take up the offer when it comes, and become part of history in the UK’s biggest ever vaccination programme.”
Downing Street said it is not aware of the “full details” around how Mr Hancock happened to get his first jab from Prof Van-Tam.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman, asked whether Mr Hancock was given special treatment, told reporters: “I think a number of people have been lucky enough to be vaccinated by Professor Van-Tam.
“He does fairly regular shifts in and around the country, and so a number of people had it done (by him).
“I think he was doing a shift when the Health Secretary was vaccinated.”
Pressed on whether it was “random” that Mr Hancock received his jab from such a senior official, the No 10 spokesman added: “I don’t know the full details.”
The government have also launched a campaign encouraging young people to take the vaccine when it is offered to them, with fears that younger, healthier age groups may not be as eager to get vaccinated as older people.