ON WEDNESDAY night, Boris Johnson was once again beamed on to Britain’s screens as he hosted the latest Covid press conference.

During the press conference, he took a question from Paul in Eastbourne who asked if people would be able to “ditch social distancing guidelines and intermix normally” when spending time with people who have had both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

The Prime Minister said: “I think we really need to see more data, particularly on the transmission between people who have already had the vaccine and others before we think about relaxing social distancing and guidelines for everybody.

“And I think that, really, this is something we will start to think about a bit further down the line - about what potential is opened up by these vaccinations.

“I think what everybody wants to see is a world in which we can relax the guidelines and the non-pharmaceutical interventions for everybody…and do that by vaccinating...as many of the most vulnerable as we can as fast as possible.

The Argus: Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive Pfizer's Covid-19 jab as part of the UK's mass vaccination programmeMargaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive Pfizer's Covid-19 jab as part of the UK's mass vaccination programme

General practitioner vaccinating old patient in private clinic with copy space. Doctor giving injection to senior woman at hospital. Nurse holding syringe and using cotton before make Covid-19 or coronavirus vaccine..

“Then, taking a view on the interaction between that and the prevalence of the disease.

“At the moment, as we’ve discussed several times, the level of infection is still forbiddingly high for us to imagine the relaxation of the current guidelines.

“But we are obviously going to be reviewing that in the days ahead.”

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty explained how vaccines would offer protection from coronavirus in three different ways.

“The first of which is they will protect you, the person who is being vaccinated, and they will protect to a very good degree based on the data we have so far.” he said

“...Secondly, it will mean that people are able to know that many of the people they interact with have also been vaccinated and that will also reduce the risk. Although, we don’t yet know with confidence quite how much these vaccines reduce the risk of transmission.

“...The third way they reduce the risk is to reduce the amount of the virus that is circulating in the whole population. And that, we are nowhere near being close to.

“If you think of those numbers right at the beginning, and think back to the last published ONS data that implied something like one in 55 people currently have the virus, the rate of the virus in the community is incredibly high.

“So the third thing we also need to do is to use the vaccine plus the social distancing that everyone is doing to pull the rates of the virus right down.

“And if you’ve got very low rates in the community, you’re vaccinated and your friends and colleagues are vaccinated, that will substantially reduce the risk for everybody.”

While, as Mr Whitty said, it is not yet known how much the vaccines will reduce the risk of transmission, the Prime Minister did deliver a promising update on this topic.

New research from Oxford University, he said, has shown that the protection offered by the first dose of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine “kicks in” after three weeks, and will last until people are given their booster jab after three months.

The research also showed that the vaccine is “likely to reduce transmission to others”.

The government has previously stated its aim to vaccinate the four most vulnerable groups to Covid-19 - including those aged 70 and above, care home residents and frontline health and social care workers - by February 15.

The country is currently counting down to the government’s review point starting on February 15, when the current measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will be assessed.

The government is set to lay out a “roadmap”, showing how current measures could change over time, on February 22.

This, he said, would start with the reopening of schools on March 8 - if the data allows this.

The Argus: Millions have now received their first coronavirus vaccine jabMillions have now received their first coronavirus vaccine jab

Mr Johnson said: “Even if these vaccines cannot make us invulnerable, and no vaccine has ever given 100 per cent protection to everybody, the evidence increasingly shows that our vaccines provide this crucial objective:

“To reduce death and serious illness from those major strains of Covid that have been subject to research.

“And, in the days leading up to our review point in the week of February 15, we will be accumulating even more data, helped by NHS Test and Trace, so we can begin to chart a way ahead.”

On Wednesday, the government confirmed that almost one in five adults in the UK, more than 10 million people, have now received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“This is equivalent to vaccinating the total capacity of 111 Wembley stadiums in just 8 weeks and is an important step towards hitting the Prime Minister’s target of offering vaccines to the top 4 priority groups by the middle of February,” a government spokesman said.

All elderly care home residents and staff in England and Wales have been offered vaccines, and 90 per cent of people aged 75 and above in England have received their first dose.

The Argus: Health Secretary Matt Hanock has said the Covid-19 vaccine is crucial in fighting the virusHealth Secretary Matt Hanock has said the Covid-19 vaccine is crucial in fighting the virus

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021..

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This terrific achievement is testament to the monumental effort of NHS workers, volunteers and the armed forces who have been working tirelessly in every corner of the UK to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history.

“Every jab makes us all a bit safer – I want to thank everyone for playing their part.

"Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic.

“The unprecedented national effort we have seen right across the United Kingdom means the majority of our most vulnerable people are now inoculated against this awful disease.”

The Cabinet Office issued a press notice this morning stating the UK vaccination programme planned to reach all nine priority groups by May.

This includes all adults aged 50 and above.