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Why Tory MPs are worried about Boris Johnson's vaccination deadline

2 1 0
05.01.2021

Boris Johnson’s televised address declaring a third national lockdown had plenty in common with the previous two lockdown announcements: leaks to the media prior to the statement, an apologetic prime minister and a promise of better times ahead. But there was one new element: a credible argument as to why this lockdown will hopefully be the last we face.

With the vaccine rollout underway, Johnson said he believed the country really was “entering the last phase of the struggle”. Not only was the end in sight – so was the path to get there. With that in mind, he promised to review the lockdown in mid-February, by which point the Government aims to have given the top four priority groups their first dose. He set a target of jabbing 13 million people by the middle of the month so that lockdown measures can be eased later that month.

This marks a change to Johnson’s approach, as well as the political challenges he now faces. Over the past few months, he has pointed to science generally as a path towards some sort of normality by spring. There was talk of test and trace and rapid mass testing. These options have all fallen away, whether by government failure or scientific reality, and now in Downing Street’s view the only way out is immunisation.

In making a pledge to vaccinate the top four groups by........

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