Everything now turns on how quickly the vaccines can be rolled out. When this lockdown ends – and when all the restrictions can be lifted – depends on how fast people can be immunised.
Last night, Boris Johnson set the state the target of having vaccinated 13 million people by the middle of February so that the lockdown measures can be eased later that month. There is an understandable scepticism about this target —people remember when test and trace was meant to prevent the need for a second national lockdown.
But the UK has two great advantages when it comes to rolling out a vaccine.
First, it has a domestically-manufactured vaccine approved which only needs to be kept at fridge temperature. This makes the logistics of distributing it far simpler: people should be able to be vaccinated in a whole variety of places. Second, the UK has a population that is, in global terms, keen to take the vaccine.
These two advantages do give the UK a chance of moving faster on vaccination than other countries. This is an opportunity that must be taken.