Don’t Hug Your Grandchildren Even After Vaccine, Warns UK Health Expert

WANTAGH, NEW YORK - MAY 24: Olivia Grant (R) hugs her grandmother, Mary Grace Sileo through a plastic drop cloth hung up on a homemade clothes line during Memorial Day Weekend on May 24, 2020 in Wantagh, New York. It is the first time they have had contact of any …
Al Bello/Getty Images

A leading British health expert has said that grandparents should refrain from hugging their grandchildren and families even after they have received the coronavirus vaccine.

The director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, Professor Janet Lord, has urged people to abide by the government’s social distancing regime after they have been inoculated.

When asked by the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme as to whether grandparents will finally be able to embrace their grandchildren after they have taken the jab, Professor Lord said: “I would certainly advise not to do that at the moment because as you probably know with the vaccines they take several weeks before they are maximally effective.”

“It’s really important that people stay on their guard even if they’ve had that first vaccination. If people do relax what they’re doing then it reduces the benefits of the vaccination,” she added.

Professor Lord said that she was also reticent to introduce the idea of coronavirus vaccine passports, as it is currently unclear whether vaccines will actually reduce the transmission rate of the virus.

The British government has also said that the lack of evidence about the transmission of the virus post-vaccination is the main factor for not implementing health passports at present.

The professor described the “practical difficulties” of such the vaccine rollout, saying that if people witness vaccinated people acting normally, they may be more inclined to stop following the lockdown restrictions themselves.

“It’s people observing you, so if you’re going around, you’re no longer wearing a mask, you’re hugging anyone you feel like hugging then it’s the message that it gives psychologically and motivationally that could be the risk,” the professor claimed.

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) also expressed their lack of faith in the British public, claiming that the gains from vaccinations may be “offset” by people flouting the rules.

Minutes from a SAGE meeting reported on by The Telegraph revealed that according to a government survey, some 40 per cent of the public will either follow the rules less strictly or not at all following their vaccination.

Over four million people have been vaccinated so far in the UK. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that there will not be an “open sesame” moment for the country to end its draconian lockdown restrictions.

“I think we’ve done more than half of the over-80s, half of the people in care homes, the elderly residents of care homes,” Johnson said on Monday.

The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned on Wednesday that 70 per cent the British public will need to be vaccinated or recovered from the virus for herd immunity to be reached in the country.

“We’re still at really, really high levels. One in 55. The prospect of spread is still high. This is absolutely not the time to talk about relaxing measures. And the vaccine rollout is critical, we’ve got to get on top of that,” Vallance said.

“The advice at the moment is that vaccines are not going to do the heavy lifting for us at the moment. This is, I’m afraid, about the restrictive measures… and carrying on with those.”

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