He said it was still unknown how good vaccines will be at stopping transmission of the Covid-19 virus. Sir Patrick told Sky News: “It’s going to take quite a long time to make sure everybody in the at-risk groups and all of the groups that are difficult to reach get vaccinated as appropriate”.
He added: “It takes time after the vaccine for the immune system to kick in,” adding that it can be a month or longer before the vaccine gives full immunity.
“This is incredibly important and it is important that we all stick to the rules in the meantime…we need to keep the virus down while we allow the vaccine programme to roll out,” he said.
While vaccines will prevent disease, he said, it is not yet known how well they halt the spread.
“It may be that next winter, even with vaccination, we need measures like masks in place – we don’t know yet how good all the vaccines are going to be at preventing the transmission of the virus.”