It still may not be safe to break social distancing rules even after receiving two doses of a Covid vaccine, according to a government scientist.
As millions of people in the UK have now received vaccinations, many are hopeful of a prompt return to normality, including close contact with loved ones.
However, appearing on BBC Radio 4 over the weekend, the deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation warned a caller against kissing their school aged grandchildren.
GP patient survey 2022: 37 Sunderland surgeries rated by patients from worst to best
11 destinations you can fly to from Newcastle Airport during half-term holidays
Monkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever - here's how to tell the difference in the early stages of infection
Unvaccinated students urged to get coronavirus jab during Freshers’ week
'Thousands' may have long Covid in Sunderland
‘I don’t think kissing grandchildren is allowed”
Professor Anthony Harnden said: “You need to be really careful and remember that even after the second dose of vaccine it’s not necessarily 100 per cent effective.
“At the moment, we still need to be cautious and obey the rules and I don’t think kissing grandchildren is allowed”.
While evidence shows that the vaccines are highly effective in reducing the chances of severe infection, hospitalisation and death, scientists say it is as yet unclear if they prevent asymptomatic spread of Covid-19 This may mean that even those who have been fully vaccinated could potentially still carry and spread the virus.
Prof Harnden said that vaccination will “offer you very good protection against severe disease and hospitalisation but we don’t know yet how much protection it’ll offer against asymptomatic infections”.
When will we be able to hug loved ones again?
According to the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the earliest date on which social distancing measures could be relaxed in England is 17 May.
This is when the social distancing policy will be reviewed. Ministers have said it could be brought forward or delayed, depending on case numbers and the progress of the vaccine rollout.
Groups of up to six people from two households could also be able to meet indoors from this date onwards.