Fears grow of another winter lockdown as Boris Johnson says he cannot rule it out and his doomster advisors tell him to ‘go hard, go early’ to smash any Covid surge.
The Prime Minister last night paved the way for fresh coronavirus curbs after the scientists’ latest warnings over the virus.
He said compulsory masks, vaccine passports and working from home could all be imposed if the jab programme fails to work.
The PM claimed the ‘smaller changes’ in a new ‘Plan B’ should mean ‘we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past’.
But he refused to rule one out, saying he would do whatever was necessary to ‘prevent the overwhelming of the NHS’.
It comes as the Government’s scientific advisers warned the number of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid could rise to 7,000 a day within weeks.
Despite the recent flattening off in cases and little sign of a post-summer surge, modellers from a Sage sub-committee claimed daily hospitalisations could reach almost double their January peak.
The predicted total is worse than last year and seven times that of the latest figures – which show the number admitted in England was just 1,009.
Yet the Sage modellers called on ministers to be prepared to abandon their ‘light-touch’ measures and bring in fresh curbs soon or risk a major increase in cases and hospitalisations, due to children returning to school and workers going back to the office.
The warnings came as:
- Infections fell 14 per cent in a week despite schools returning. 26,628 new cases yesterday with 185 deaths;
- Chris Whitty argued with Nicki Minaj after saying she should be ‘ashamed’ for spreading a vaccine scare story;
- Sajid Javid said that it was ‘highly likely’ that frontline NHS staff would be required to have the Covid-19 jab;
- He warned people to keep wearing masks and meeting up outdoors this autumn to help slow the virus’ spread;
- Mr Johnson hinted fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to get a costly PCR test when they get home;
- Businesses were warned they may get a week’s notice of the introduction of mandatory vaccine passports;
- Employment rates jumped back to pre-pandemic levels.
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (pictured from left to right) during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus on Tuesday
The number of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid could rise to 7,000 a day within weeks, the Government’s scientific advisers warned in a gloomy prediction
The predicted total is worse than last year and seven times that of the latest figures – which show the number admitted in England was just 1,009
Pubs, shops and small business warn of the PM’s ‘Plan B’
Pubs, shops and small businesses have blasted Boris Johnson’s ‘Plan B’ to deal with the coronavirus pandemic over the winter. Experts said a return to working from home would cripple the economy and come at the worst possible time when companies are getting back on their feet.
They welcomed Plan A of the document the PM outlined this evening but warned the alternative would have ‘significant and drastic impacts’. UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘It’s critical for the recovery of the hospitality sector and the wider economy that businesses are allowed to continue to operate in viable conditions throughout this winter.
‘Hospitality venues are still in a fragile state with significant debts, making their first steps on the road to recovery and rebuilding broken balance sheets, any setbacks over the coming months will result in more businesses closures. The announcement from the Secretary of State, the continued focus on vaccination roll out and boosters, is much welcome, as their success has been critical to protecting our healthcare system while allowing for the reopening of the economy and businesses to trade without restrictions.
‘However, we must caution Government that the introduction of those measures that are left in reserve for this winter, would have significant and drastic impacts on the sector. The use of vaccine passports, logistically unworkable and with questionable effectiveness, will have a devastating effect on nightclubs and large-scale events.
‘These sectors have been hit hardest and have been at the very back of the queue for reopening and such measures would severely undermine their profitability and ability to recover over the winter months. Similarly, work from home orders or guidance would have a significant impact on our city and town centres, not only damaged by restrictions and enforced closures but also significantly reduced footfall.’
Government scientists have urged the PM to move further and faster even though cases of the coronavirus are falling.
Speaking alongside the PM in Downing Street, Chief Scientist Sir Patrick Vallance said: ‘When you make a move, you have to go earlier than you want to and harder than you want to. It is important that measures are early enough and significant enough.’
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty also issued a grim assessment, warning winter was on its way – with the health service already under ‘extreme pressure’.
Mr Johnson said the success of the vaccine programme meant Britain was ‘incomparably better placed’ than before to deal with the virus.
He said his ‘Plan A’ was to focus on vaccinations – with top-up jabs for 33million over-50s by Christmas – while encouraging cautious behaviour day to day.
But ministers fear that, with more than five million adults in England unvaccinated, hospitals could still fill up with Covid cases in the coming months.
The threat of new curbs last night dismayed Tory MPs, who urged Mr Johnson to stick to his aim of helping Britain ‘learn to live with Covid’.
Mr Javid was heckled by some MPs on his own side as he unveiled the threat of new Covid curbs in the House of Commons.
Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, warned Plan B would ’cause significant disruption to businesses and costs to the economy’.
He added: ‘The Government had an opportunity to set out how we can live with an endemic virus that will be with us for ever. Instead, we got a slippery slope towards more restrictions that many fear is already a foregone conclusion.’
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said Covid scientists appeared to be ‘back in charge’ of the Government’s agenda.
Warnings of another clampdown came in the 32-page ‘Autumn and Winter Covid Plan’ published yesterday.
The official document stressed the huge benefits of virus vaccinations, reinforced by a massive booster programme for adults and jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Sir Patrick said it was clear that immunity was ‘waning’ and that top-ups would have a ‘very big knock-on effect’ on curbing infection and hospitalisation rates.
Plan A included advising people on how to limit the risk of spreading the virus in their day-to-day lives. And mandatory isolation will remain in place for those who test positive. Mass testing will also continue.
Despite the recent flattening off in cases and little sign of a post-summer surge, modellers from a Sage sub-committee claimed daily hospitalisations could reach almost double their January peak (file photo)
Experts warn of confusion over Covid jabs for children
Confusion over jabs for children deepened last night as experts admitted the issue was a ‘grey area’ that will cause ‘uncertainty’ among parents.
Professor Anthony Harnden said the decision over whether to offer the vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds ‘isn’t black and white’ – and acknowledged that inconsistent advice on the benefits and risks will cause ‘uncertainty, hesitation and debate’ among families.
The deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said it was important parents were ‘properly informed’ and that their decision should be respected.
The UK’s four chief medical officers gave the expanded rollout the go-ahead on Monday, but the JCVI had previously said the benefits were too marginal to justify the move.
Downing Street declined to say when Plan B might be introduced. But scientists have previously suggested that the NHS would begin to struggle if total hospital cases top 10,000. Latest figures yesterday showed the total is 8,413 after dropping below 1,000 in May.
Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick both highlighted hospitalisation numbers as a critical factor.
The plan also makes the case for ordering millions of office staff to work from home again on a ‘temporary’ basis, although Government sources said this would only follow a review of the impact on the economy. The document also left open the door to another potential lockdown.
Kate Nicholls, of the trade body UK Hospitality, welcomed the initial focus on vaccinations, but warned that ‘those measures that are left in reserve for this winter, would have significant and drastic impacts on the sector’.
She said vaccine passports were ‘logistically unworkable’ and would have a ‘devastating effect’ on sectors that had already been hit hardest by the pandemic.
The CBI gave a cautious welcome to the Plan A proposals, saying: ‘Business is clear that the Government must leave no stone unturned in its efforts to keep the economy open.’
In a newly released document from the Sage sub-committee, they propose a basket of measures to keep the epidemic under control.
These include more mask wearing, continued home working, more widespread testing and a return to all contacts of cases self-isolating.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left)and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty (right) speak at Downing Street this afternoon
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street this afternoon
Fully vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections are HALF as likely to develop long Covid as those who haven’t had their shots, study finds
In addition to protecting against severe disease and death from COVID-19, the vaccines also protect against long Covid, a new study suggests.
Scientists in the UK found that fully vaccinated Brits who got breakthrough cases were about half as likely to report long Covid symptoms as unvaccinated people who were infected.
In addition, the researchers found that just 0.2 percent of study patients who were fully vaccinated later tested positive for Covid – demonstrating the vaccines’ ability to prevent infection.
The study was based on self-reported symptoms from a Covid tracking app, and further research is needed to back up these findings.
But Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), called the study ‘encouraging’ in a commentary article on Tuesday.
Modelling by Sage – which has become infamous for its gloomy predictions – warned that hospital admissions could hit 2,000 to 7,000 in England next month.
This far surpasses the winter peak of 4,309 on January 11.
The warning comes despite the fact that the number of new Covid cases reported has fallen week-on-week, according to latest figures.
The Sage documents say: ‘With the current levels of high prevalence combined with unknown behaviours, the burden on health and care settings could rise very quickly.’
While acknowledging that jabs have tamed the virus, they said ‘it could be a very difficult winter ahead’ if acute Covid combines with other pressures such as long Covid or other infections such as flu.
According to the document, the modellers expect R – the number of people an infected person infects – to rise from about 1 in England to between 1.1 and 1.5 as schools reopen and people return to work.
If so, daily hospitalisations in October could peak at around 2,000 if R is 1.1 and 7,000 if it is 1.5.
Extreme scenarios projecting many more cases are highly unlikely, the modellers add, unless there is a substantial waning of immunity or a new variant emerges.
Sage’s models will not have factored in the effect of vaccinating healthy 12 to 15-year-olds or giving booster doses to 30 million vulnerable adults, policies that were only announced in the last two days.
Yesterday the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, appearing alongside the Prime Minister at a Downing Street press conference, said it was important to act early to combat the virus.
‘The principles, which have been really clear, are when you make a move you have to go earlier than you think you want to, you have to go harder than you think you want to, and you have to have the right geographical coverage,’ he added.
He said the UK was now at a ‘pivot point’ where, if the situation worsens, it could do so rapidly.
NHS Confederation chief Matthew Taylor told the BBC’s World at One: ‘It’s something we have to keep a very careful eye on.
‘We’ve also got to be aware the NHS is facing the backlog of care that’s built up over the last 18 months. We are trying to manage Covid, and also address the backlog.’
Nicki Minaj v Boris: Surreal war of words breaks out as US singer sends PM bizarre audio clip with faux British accent after he blasted her for sharing anti-vax impotence myth – before spat with Piers Morgan who branded her ‘rudest little madam I ever met’
- Prime Minister said he would rather listen to NHS England’s top GP Nikki Kanani about Covid-19 jabs
- Boris Johnson and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty condemned the pop star’s remarks on impotence
- Minaj was ridiculed after saying her cousin’s friend allegedly became impotent after getting vaccine
- After being criticised she hit back in a series of tweets including a message in a comedic British accent
A bizarre war of words has tonight broken out between US singer Nicki Minaj, Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty after she took to social media to share an anti-vax impotence myth.
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Whitty, and the Prime Minister today criticised the US hit maker for spreading an ‘untrue’ and ‘ridiculous’ myth that coronavirus vaccines can cause impotence.
But things took an unexpected turn when the rapper and singer, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, responded to the ‘diss’ on social media minutes later.
The star posted a bizarre audio clip with a fake British accent mocking Mr Johnson after he criticised her post in a press conference today.
She later rowed with TV presenter Piers Morgan after he also took aim at her over her vaccine comments, while describing her as the ‘rudest little madam I ever met’.
It comes after the Prime Minister said he would rather listen to NHS England’s top GP Nikki Kanani about the jab as he and the Chief Medical Officer both condemned the remarks by the star, who has not yet been vaccinated.
Minaj had been mocked after telling her 22million Twitter followers last night that her cousin will not get the vaccine because his friend allegedly became impotent after being jabbed and his fiancé cancelled their wedding.
The 38-year-old tweeted yesterday: ‘My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.’
Mr Whitty and Mr Johnson both criticised Minaj after being asked about what she said by a reporter during their press conference from Downing Street this afternoon. Minaj then took to Twitter again after watching a video of the two men speaking, saying: ‘I love him even tho I guess this was a diss? The accent ugh! Yassss boo!!!’
Moment later she recorded an audio message for Mr Johnson in a comedic British accent, tweeting: ‘Send this to the Prime Minister and let him know they lied on me. I forgive him. No one else. Only him.’
She said: ‘Yes, hello Prime Minister, Boris, it’s Nicki Minaj – I was just calling to tell you that you were so amazing on the news this morning. And I’m actually British. I was born there. I went to university there. I went to Oxford.
‘I went to school with Margaret Thatcher. And she told me so many nice things about you. I’d love to send you my portfolio of my work, since you don’t know much about me, I’m a big, big star in the United States.’
Minaj then called Laura Kuenssberg a ‘dumbo’ after the BBC News political editor quoted her ‘diss’ tweet, saying: ‘2021 everyone.’ Minaj responded to this message by saying: ‘Yes 2021 when jack asses hang on to my every tweet but can’t decipher sarcasm & humor, and can’t read. Go away dumbo.’
The singer then changed her Twitter bio to ‘Rudest little madam’ with a British flag in response to a Tweet by Piers Morgan, who she also became embroiled in a row with.
The presenter wrote: ‘Professor Whitty beefing with the ghastly Nicki Minaj (one of the rudest little madams I’ve ever met) is not the breaking news that I expected today – but it’s most welcome. She’s peddling lies that will cost lives.’
Minaj then replied saying she had never met the former Good Morning Britain host – though Twitter users later posted pictures showing them appearing on America’s Got Talent together.
She said: ‘Sir I’ve never met you. I know… we all look alike. ‘Rudest little madam’. I like it. Has a special ring to it. Thanks Pierce. Love the accent. I’d love to come chat. Scones. Tea. Clown nose & big red shoes for you.’
But she also tweeted the wrong Piers – instead tweeting Protocal editor-at-large David Pierce, who joked: ‘I get incorrectly tagged in a lot of wrong tweets but this one is going to be … particularly bad.’
Mr Morgan, having found Minaj’s Tweet, responded saying the Starships singer had blanked his three sons while appearing a guest on America’s Got Talent – which he was hosting at the time – saying she was ‘too busy’.
Nicki Minaj claimed that her cousin won’t get the vaccine because his friend allegedly became impotent after being jabbed
The singer later changed her Twitter bio to ‘Rudest little madam’ with a British flag in response to a Tweet by Piers Morgan (pictured right), who she also became embroiled in a row with
Minaj was ridiculed over a tweet about her cousin’s friend yesterday which was condemned by Mr Whitty and the PM
Minaj then took to Twitter again today, after watching a video of Mr Whitty and Mr Johnson speaking in London
Moments later Minaj recorded an audio message to Mr Johnson in a comedic British accent
Minaj called Laura Kuenssberg a ‘dumbo’ after the BBC News political editor quoted her ‘diss’ tweet, saying: ‘2021 everyone’
The singer then changed her Twitter bio to ‘Rudest little madam’ with a British flag in response to a Tweet by Piers Morgan, who she also became embroiled in a row with
Minaj then replied saying she had never met the former Good Morning Britain host – though Twitter users later posted pictures showing them appearing on America’s Got Talent together.
What did Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty say?
‘I’m not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be, but I am familiar with Nikki Kanani, superstar GP of Bexley who’s appeared many times before you who will tell you that vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them. So I prefer to listen to Nikki Kanani.’
‘There are a number of myths that fly around with varying… some of which are just clearly ridiculous, and some of which are clearly designed just to scare. That happens to be one of them. That is untrue.
‘My own strong suggestion to media present and not present is repeating them in public actually gives them credence which they don’t need. They’re untrue, full stop. If you think about where we are actually overall… the great majority of people are getting vaccinated, so the great majority of people are ignoring these myths.
‘And if you talking about people in their 50s and 60s and 70s, you’re talking about over 90 per cent of people getting vaccinated, and very few people actually are actively in… the anti-vaxx group. There are a few people who’ve got strange beliefs, and fine, and they make their own choices, and in a sense, also fine, people, adults are allowed to make their own choices. However strange that is a basic principle of medical ethics actually.
‘But there are also people who go around trying to discourage other people from taking a vaccine which could be life-saving or prevent them from having life-changing injuries to themselves. And many of those people, I regret to say, I think know they are peddling untruths and, but they still do it. In my view, they should be ashamed. And I’ll leave it at that.’
‘I love him even tho I guess this was a diss? The accent ugh! Yassss boo!!!’
‘Send this to the Prime Minister and let him know they lied on me. I forgive him. No one else. Only him.’
‘Yes, hello Prime Minister, Boris, it’s Nicki Minaj – I was just calling to tell you that you were so amazing on the news this morning. And I’m actually British. I was born there. I went to university there.
‘I went to Oxford. I went to school with Margaret Thatcher. And she told me so many nice things about you. I’d love to send you my portfolio of my work, since you don’t know much about me, I’m a big, big star in the United States.’
During the press conference, the Prime Minister said: ‘I’m not as familiar with the works of Nicki Minaj as I probably should be.
‘But I am familiar with Nikki Kanani, superstar GP of Bexley who’s appeared many times before you, who will tell you that vaccines are wonderful and everybody should get them. So I prefer to listen to Nikki Kanani.’
And Mr Whitty said: ‘There are a number of myths that fly around with varying… some of which are just clearly ridiculous, and some of which are clearly designed just to scare. That happens to be one of them. That is untrue.
‘My own strong suggestion to media present and not present is repeating them in public actually gives them credence which they don’t need. They’re untrue, full stop.
‘If you think about where we are actually overall… the great majority of people are getting vaccinated, so the great majority of people are ignoring these myths.
‘And if you talking about people in their 50s and 60s and 70s, you’re talking about over 90 per cent of people getting vaccinated, and very few people actually are actively in… the anti-vaxx group.
‘There are a few people who’ve got strange beliefs, and fine, and they make their own choices, and in a sense, also fine, people, adults are allowed to make their own choices. However strange that is a basic principle of medical ethics actually.
‘But there are also people who go around trying to discourage other people from taking a vaccine which could be life-saving or prevent them from having life-changing injuries to themselves.
‘And many of those people, I regret to say, I think know they are peddling untruths and, but they still do it. In my view, they should be ashamed. And I’ll leave it at that.’
Reacting to Mr Whitty’s comments, DailyMail.com US editor-at-large Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Professor Whitty beefing with the ghastly @NICKIMINAJ (one of the rudest little madams I’ve ever met) is not the breaking news that I expected today – but it’s most welcome. She’s peddling lies that will cost lives.’
It comes after Minaj revealed this week that she is unvaccinated and was not moved to receive the jab by the Met Gala’s attendance requirements.
The chart-topping rapper said she caught Covid while preparing for the MTV Video Music Awards, which took place on Sunday.
Guests at the Met Gala – a glamorous event in New York City known as fashion’s biggest night – were reportedly required to be fully vaccinated in order to attend.
Minaj, who pulled out of the VMAs, told fans on Twitter she was still researching vaccines.
She tweeted: ‘They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met.
‘It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.’
Top Trumps: Nicki Minaj, Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty
Born: Port of Spain – Trinidad and Tobago
Education: LaGuardia, New York
Platinum albums: 4
Movie credits: 4
General election wins: 0
Net worth: Estimated £60million
Twitter followers: 22.6million
Previous job: Waitress at Red Lobster
Number of mugs sold with face on: Unknown
Well known phrase: ‘Let’s go to the beach-each. Let’s go get a wave.’
Born: New York – United States
Education: Eton College and Oxford University
Children: ‘At least 6’
Platinum albums: 0
Movie credits: 0
General election wins: 1
Net work: Estimated £1.5million
Twitter followers: 3.6million
Previous job: (Before politics) Editor of The Spectator
Number of mugs sold with face on: Unknown
Well known phrase: ‘Get Brexit Done’
Born: Gloucester, England
Height: 6ft 2in
Education: Malvern College and Oxford University
Platinum albums: 0
Movie credits: 0
General election wins: 0
Net Worth: Unknown
Twitter followers: 335,000
Previous job: NHS consultant physician
Number of mugs sold with face on: At least 900
Well known phrase: ‘Next slide please’
Minaj, whose son will turn one later this month, said Drake, her close friend and superstar rapper, caught Covid despite being vaccinated.
She said: ‘I was prepping for vmas then i shot a video & guess who got COVID? Do u know what it is not to be able to kiss or hold your tiny baby for over a week?
‘A baby who is only used to his mama? ‘get vaccinated’ Drake had just told me he got covid w|THE VACCINE tho so chile.’
Minaj, who was criticised for her comments, said she would recommend the vaccine for anyone who needed it for work.
And she said she may need to receive the jab when she starts touring.
In the US, vaccine hesitancy is one of the biggest issues facing Joe Biden’s administration.
Last week the president criticised the roughly 80 million unvaccinated Americans and announced sweeping new vaccine requirements.
There have been more than 41 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US, official figures show, with more than 660,000 deaths.
In Britain, it was announced today that booster Covid vaccines will be offered to millions of people from next week alongside annual flu jabs.
Those eligible include anyone aged 50 and over, people living and working in elderly care homes, and frontline health and social care workers.
All those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and anyone aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group for Covid will also be eligible for a jab.
Impotence is not listed as a potential side effect of the vaccine on the NHS website.
The war of words comes as Mr Johnson’s top medical and scientific advisers warned that ‘winter is coming’ and he might need to ‘go early and go hard’ with restrictions today – as the PM said compulsory masks and Covid passports are being ‘kept in reserve’ if booster jabs and vaccines for schoolchildren fails to keep the disease under control.
Fronting a press conference alongside Professor Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM insisted that the UK was ‘incomparably’ better placed to deal with the disease this year.
He said he hoped the situation could be kept stable with more jabs and the public behaving sensibly – although ministers have made clear another lockdown cannot be completely ruled out as a ‘last resort’.
But Prof Whitty gave a more downbeat assessment, invoking the famous mantra from hit TV show Game of Thrones by warning that ‘winter is coming’.
He said that infections were ‘high’ relative to last year, and the NHS was under ‘extreme pressure’ even though vaccines were helping significantly.
Meanwhile, Sir Patrick seemed to send a thinly-veiled message to Mr Johnson by saying that when it comes to measures to stem cases the lesson was ‘you have to go earlier than you want to, you have to go harder than you want to’.
The premier was addressing the nation just hours after it emerged his mother had died, and thanked people for their condolences.
But his winter plan has alarmed businesses and enraged Tory MPs, who heckled Sajid Javid in the Commons as he said it includes the ‘Plan B’ of making masks compulsory ‘in certain settings’, more working from home and social distancing if the NHS is under threat.
Vaccine passports will stay on the table and could be introduced in England with a week’s notice, even though they will not go ahead from next month as originally intended.
There was a boost for Mr Johnson this evening as cases fell 30 per cent week on week to 26,628 and deaths dropped 12 per cent to to 185 – although hospitalisations were up 2 per cent.
The Prime Minister said he would rather listen to NHS England’s top GP Nikki Kanani (above)
Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left), Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance (C) walk along Downing Street this afternoon
DailyMail.com US editor-at-large Piers Morgan is among those tweeting about the comments
Despite the tough messaging on the need to be cautious, ministers packed into the Cabinet room this morning with no masks as they were briefed on the contents of the plan.
At his press conference in Downing Street, Mr Johnson insisted less drastic changes could control the outbreaks this time.
‘When you’ve got a large proportion, as we have now, with immunity, then smaller changes can make a bigger difference and give us the confidence that we don’t have to go back to the lockdowns of the past,’ he said.
He added: ‘In the meantime, we are confident in the vaccines that have made such a difference to our lives.’
Prof Whitty said the data showed someone in their 30s and unvaccinated was running the same risk as someone in their 70s who is vaccinated.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is set to provide an update on international travel ahead of the formal review point on October 1 – with hopes he will scrap the traffic light system and announce PCR tests are being phased out. He is expected to say fully-jabbed holidaymakers will be able to rely on lateral flow versions instead.
But as well as making their views obvious about the return of masks, Tory MPs demanded the government gives up more powers to impose restrictions on liberties.
There is also a widening split between the approach in England and Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon is bringing in Covid passports for nightclubs and large events. The SNP leader also says school pupils will need to wear face coverings indoors until at least the October holidays, and large in-person lectures will not be happening at universities.
NICKI MINAJ’S COVID VACCINE CLAIMS DEBUNKED
What did she claim?
The 38-year-old rapper said her cousin refused to get jabbed after his friend was vaccinated and suffered ‘swollen testicles’ and impotence.
‘So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied,’ she told fans.
Is there any truth to the claims?
No. Not a single Covid vaccine currently being distributed is known to cause impotence (erectile dysfunction) or fertility issues.
Medics can be sure of this because nearly 6billion doses have already been administered globally.
Major surveillance schemes are in place around the world to pick up on any side effects or adverse reactions.
There have also been no known reports of swollen testicles after getting the Covid vaccines.
Even if these problems were happening on a minuscule scale they would be expected to be detected due to the sheer volume of jabs being administered.
What risks do they vaccines carry?
Vaccines do, however, cause a host of common, uncommon and extremely rare side effects, ranging from mild to serious.
Most common side effects include muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, fever and chills and other flu-like symptoms.
In extremely rare cases, adverse reactions can be deadly.
Side effects include:
Very Common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)
- tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where the injection is given
- generally feeling unwell
- feeling tired (fatigue)
- chills or feeling feverish
- feeling sick (nausea)
- joint pain or muscle ache
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)
- swelling, redness or a lump at the injection site
- feeling or being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
- flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose, cough, feeling weak
- pain in legs or arms
- low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopaenia)
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)
- feeling dizzy
- sleepiness or feeling low in energy
- lower appetite
- abdominal pain
- enlarged lymph nodes
- excessive sweating
- itchy skin or rash
Extremely rare (fewer than 1 in 10,000 people)
- severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- blood clots occurring with low levels of platelets (see below)
- swelling under the skin (angioedema)
- heart inflammation (myocarditis)
- capillary leak syndrome (a condition where fluid leaks from the smallest blood vessels, causing swelling and drop in blood pressure).
- Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition where the immune system damages nerve cells)
There are days for whizzbang moods. This wasn’t one of them: HENRY DEEDES sees a joyless Boris Johnson at the Downing Street press conference
One could hardly expect the Boris to be in one of his whizzbang moods yesterday.
After all, his dear old mum had died the previous day. Rotten thing about being PM sometimes. One of those jobs that requires you to Keep Buggering On (as Churchill put it) when your personal circs are far from tickety boo.
Sure enough, the figure standing before us at the Downing Street press conference really didn’t seem like Boris at all. He looked joyless. Sounded it too. The usually buoyant voice was low and dull, as though he’d been gargling gravel.
It didn’t help that he was swaying between those two hawkers of horror Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance. This often happens when the PM gets together with the boffins. A dark cloud descends over him. Scientists instil fear in him. He becomes sullen. Neutered. Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest brought into line by cold-hearted Nurse Ratched.
One could hardly expect the Boris to be in one of his whizzbang moods yesterday
He had come to announce plans for dealing with coronavirus this winter. Should things turn sticky, there could be a return to working from home and ruddy face masks. Vaccine passports remain a distinct possibility. The irreversible road map? Not quite the one-way satnav route we were promised.
Quite why it was felt there was a need for such an announcement wasn’t clear. Hospital admission rates remain eminently manageable. It felt like another exercise in keeping us on our toes.
I once had a teacher who tried to achieve the same effect by turning off the heating in class. He thought it focused minds. It didn’t. The usual Boris might have kicked off by reminding us how far we had come since January. Instead, he pointed out that infection rates were higher than they were this time last year. ‘Covid is still out there,’ he warned.
The only vague Borisism came when he talked about turning ‘jabs, jabs, jabs into jobs, jobs, jobs’. Even then, he gave a cowered look to his right as though expecting Professor Whitty to deliver him a sharp clip around the ear.
The chief medical officer was in one of his foreboding moods. His eyeballs flickered and did panicked little loop-the-loops. ‘Winter is coming,’ he remarked, his tone dark and gulpy, like the voiceover on a Hollywood trailer.
ITV’s Robert Peston was among the journalists back in the room. We hoped he might have learned the subtle art of brevity. No such luck. Pesto reminded us he’d recently been struck down by the virus. But enough about me, why weren’t tighter restrictions being brought in now, he asked. Wasn’t he once a business journalist?
After all, his dear old mum had died the previous day. Rotten thing about being PM sometimes. One of those jobs that requires you to Keep Buggering On (as Churchill put it) when your personal circs are far from tickety boo
Things took an odd turn when a chap from The Times brought up Nicki Minaj. Whooo? She’s a US rapper. Nuttier than a Lion bar. Yesterday she unhelpfully tweeted that the vaccine made men impotent. Whitty frowned. Boris pleaded ignorance of any of twerk-prone Miss Minaj’s saucy oeuvre. A likely story.
Earlier, Health Secretary Sajid Javid had outlined the Government’s plans in the Commons. The reaction to the Saj’s statement from the Tory benches was something less than ecstatic. Not quite as stony as the reception MCC members gave Ian Botham back in ’83 after getting himself out for a duck. But pretty close.
Backbench grandee Sir Graham Brady (Con, Altrincham) sat and stroked his jowls moodily.
When the possible reintroduction of face coverings was mooted, Sir Desmond Swayne (Con, New Forest W) let out an exasperated howl of ‘Noooooooo!’
Sir Graham was disappointed PCR tests had not been scrapped for those returning from abroad. Not only were they expensive, they were pointless. Behind him, David Davis (Con, Howden) growled about the ‘poor quality of decisions’ made by ministers during the pandemic.
The Government ship is not quite mutinous. But there is grumbling down in the galley.
DAN WOOTTON: Why are we jabbing millions of kids who are at almost no risk of Covid simply to keep teachers at work after a year of doing almost nothing?
Something extraordinary happened yesterday but we’re now so numbed by the consequences of this pandemic that many have shrugged it off.
A government which has been slavishly imploring us to ‘follow the science’ for months overruled one of the bodies it says we should trust to deliver the science in order to vaccinate en masse healthy children aged 12 to 15-year-olds from next week who have a miniscule chance of succumbing to Covid-19.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had said the vaccine should only be offered to teens if they are extremely vulnerable or live with someone at risk because the benefits didn’t outweigh the risks and the chances of long Covid among the age group are low.
But the decision to ignore the JCVI’s equivocal message and continue the quest to jab jab jab at almost any cost was made by Christopher Whitty – a man with no children himself who wants us to continue to live in fear of the coronavirus in perpetuity.
One of the main reasons behind such a worrying move, with real world health risks for our innocent youngsters, was a fear that the continued spread of Covid could see them miss out on even more education.
But the decision to ignore the JCVI’s equivocal message and continue the quest to jab jab jab at almost any cost was made by Christopher Whitty (pictured in September 2020) – a man with no children himself who wants us to continue to live in fear of the coronavirus in perpetuity
The embattled Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and his department have been pushing for such a rollout, terrified of the militant teaching unions who refused to work at the height of pandemic and caused the young to miss an average of 107 days of education last year.
So, in essence, we are going to be jabbing millions of kids for no good health reason just to keep teachers happy, who will no doubt start gently (or not so gently) encouraging their pupils to get jabbed.
Meanwhile ministers have made plain that parents will NOT have the right to overrule the wishes of even 12-year-olds despite experts from the JCVI saying that a 12-year-old was less likely to be deemed competent to make the decision on their own.
It’s almost unbelievable that we are pandering to such a degree to teachers who spent the vast bulk of 2020 doing everything possible not to teach.
And how is there such a conspiracy of silence around this highly controversial decision, with most politicians and media outlets accepting the unprecedented move was almost inevitable?
Why? Because it’s what they’re doing in Israel and Australia – two countries also desperately trying to jab five to 11-year-olds.
If we follow their path, new-borns will be jabbed the moment they leave the womb.
It was left to the brave Conservative MP Marcus Fysh to provide some political resistance, calling for the head of the CMO.
He tweeted: ‘Sorry to have to say it but the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty does not deserve the confidence of the country in deciding to vaccinate teenagers without good clinical reason. He should resign.’
So much about Whitty’s decision needs to be questioned.
The embattled Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured in February) and his department have been pushing for such a rollout, terrified of the militant teaching unions who refused to work at the height of pandemic
It was left to the brave Conservative MP Marcus Fysh (pictured left, next to David Davis) to provide some political resistance, calling for the head of the CMO
What’s happened to the benefits of natural immunity? Some studies claim that the best away to protect kids and the world long-term against Covid is to let them get it. Let them build a natural immunity that – over time – will turn Covid into just another cold.
Is the alternative jabbing children every year forever? Covid will never go away if that is the case.
Teens are only being given one dose of the jab, rather than two, because of the dangers posed.
The most worrying of those is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, which a new study in the US and Israel suggests impacts 162.2 cases per million for healthy boys aged 12 to 15 and 94 cases per million for healthy boys aged 16 to 17 after two shots.
That means boys aged 12 to 15 are four to six times more likely to suffer vaccine-related myocarditis than end up in hospital with Covid.
It’s almost unbelievable that we are pandering to such a degree to teachers who spent the vast bulk of 2020 doing everything possible not to teach, writes Dan Wootton (pictured above)
Anyone battling a heart condition as an adult will tell you that myocarditis isn’t something you want to encounter in your teens even though the experts assure us the cases detected so far are ‘mild’.
Further, the CDC in the US is currently investigating the death of Jacob Clynick, a healthy 13-year-old from Michigan with no underlying health conditions who died in his sleep three days after receiving his second Covid jab in June.
In its report from earlier this month, the JCVI admitted there is ‘considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the potential harms’ of vaccinating teens.
No wonder JCVI member Professor Adam Finn of the University of Bristol said: ‘I stand by the JCVI advice, which is not to go ahead at this time with vaccinating healthy 12 to 15-year-olds on health outcome risk-benefit grounds given the current uncertainty – as there is a small but plausible risk that rare harms could turn out to outweigh modest benefits.’
Don’t tell me a 12-year-old can make this sort of serious health decision on their own, sometimes against advice from their parents.
There’s a reason why this age group can’t vote or fight for their country in a war.
I can only imagine the scenes at schools up and down the country. Woke teachers preaching that every student should be jabbed for the good of society and to save granny, while virtually every other classmate gets vaccinated in the school hall.
It would take a very strong youngster to stand up against that degree of societal influence and peer pressure.
Parents will also be, quite rightly, concerned about the consequences to their children’s social lives and ability to travel in the future if they decide against the jab, given the government insists on keeping vaccine passports ‘in reserve’.
Now to stress, I am not in any way opposed to the brilliant and groundbreaking Covid vaccine.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had said the vaccine should only be offered to teens if they are extremely vulnerable or live with someone at risk (file photo)
I’m double jabbed and think it’s a no brainer for any adult, especially the vulnerable or those with underlying health conditions – but it is up to the individual to make the choice.
I despise the coercion culture that has developed around vaccination, given it’s a fundamental human right to make informed decisions about what goes into our bodies.
Coronavirus is now becoming endemic.
Infection rates are not all that different amongst the vaccinated and unvaccinated – although deaths and serious disease are MUCH higher among the unvaxxed.
Avoiding Covid over the next 12 months is going to be very difficult – but the serious risks of hospitalisation and death have now gone for the vast majority of those who want to be vaccinated.
We need a commonsense approach like we have with the flu, so if you have symptoms and test positive then stay home.
Just because the rest of the world is vaccinating children doesn’t make it right.
Is it going to take the death of a perfectly healthy British youngster – possibly even one who was vaccinated against their parents’ wishes – for our officials to wake up to just how wrong this decision is?