Suffolk MPs accept new lockdown - but look forward to vaccine roll-out

Dr Dan Poulter

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter had good news for sports fans. - Credit: Paul Geater

Suffolk MPs have accepted prime minister Boris Johnson had no alternative but to introduce a third national lockdown – but are hopeful the most vulnerable will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-February. 

However, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter - who also works in a London hospital - described the vaccination target as "ambitious and rather optimistic".

He said it might take until Easter to deliver the 12-14 million jabs needed by the most vulnerable groups - the over-70s, those shielding, and health and care workers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation from 10 Downing Street. - Credit: PA

Once they have had the injection, a similar number of people between 50 and 70 are due to get the vaccine.

Dr Poulter said: "I really hope the government is able to meet the target, but I feel it could take longer.


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"The important thing is that there is a vaccine on the way and there is a clear way out of this."

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge. - Credit: Office of James Cartlidge

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge took part in a Zoom call with ministers and other Conservative MPs before the announcement.

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He said: "We are in early days with the rolling out of the Oxford vaccine, so it is difficult to give exact targets. 

"But, once it is coming through on a regular basis, the ministers do think that people will be able to get it quite quickly and I really hope we have given the injection to those most likely to need hospital treatment by the middle of February."

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

That was a view shared by Ipswich MP Tom Hunt who, like his colleagues, felt there was an understanding by most people that this was a critical moment for the country.

He said: "This is a return to where we were last March.

"No-one wanted this, and it will take a big effort by everyone - but I do hope we will start to see numbers come down with these measures and as people are vaccinated.

"The target is ambitious but achievable."

He was disappointed that schools must to close until half-term, but felt there was no choice. 

"I know the government wanted to avoid this at all costs, but ultimately that was not possible," he said.

"However, it is vital that we ensure all pupils are supported to do remote learning - and as a member of the education select committee I shall be working to ensure this happens."

There is also good news for sports fans - unlike the first national lockdown, it appears elite sport can continue. 

Dr Poulter said: "As I understand it, televised sport will carry on.

"It seems to have organised the Covid issue reasonably well - and at this time of the year in winter it is important for the well-being of people to have something like this to watch or listen to." 

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