Boris Johnson visited Bristol today, for the opening of the new vaccination centre at Aston Gate stadium.
While there he reaffirmed his targets for the vaccine roll-out, and the threat faced by the NHS meant it was a race against time.
Here is everything he had to say.
During his visit the Prime Minister told reporters: “As I speak to you today we’ve done about two million people, maybe a bit more.
“We’re at about 2.4 million jabs all in across the whole of the UK.”
He said vaccinating the 15 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February is a “massively stretching” but “achievable target”.
“We cannot be complacent,” he said.
“The worst thing now would be for us to allow the success in rolling out a vaccine programme to breed any kind of complacency about the state of the pandemic.”
“There’s no doubt that it’s a massively stretching target.
“We believe it’s achievable and we’re going to put absolutely everything into it, we’re going to throw absolutely everything at it to get it done. Those first four groups by the middle of February.
“Today, I think I can confirm that we’ve done roughly 40% of the 80-year-olds in this country already.
“We’ve done about 23% of the elderly residents of care homes.”
Boris Johnson warned that vaccinations are “a race against time” with the scale of the threat on the NHS, which he said includes a shortage of oxygen in some places.
He hailed progress in the vaccination of elderly citizens and added: “It’s a race against time because we can all see the threat that our NHS faces the pressure, it’s under the demand in intensive care units, the pressure on ventilated beds, even a shortage of oxygen in some places.
“We’ve got to focus on what we all need to do together to bear down on the disease.”
During his visit Boris Johnson also warned that further lockdown measures may be required if people do not follow the rules.
Asked why nurseries had stayed open following the closure of schools he said: “Schools are safe, what we are trying to do is restrict the spread of the virus.
“In primary schools lots of households mix together- the risk is they ten go home a and spread it to older family members who may be more vulnerable.
“The risk of primary school age children in a bad way is very low indeed.
“I wanted to keep schools going for as long as I possibly could.
“One of the things that was toughest at the first lockdown was closing the schools. We really wanted to avoid that again. It became obvious though that the numbers were really just far far too difficult and we had to stop the spread of the virus, but for services like the NHS, for many public workers for keyworkers you have to keep schools going to some extent- so primary schools are still going for them and that also goes for nursery schools, that’s why there is the discrepancy.
Asked why similar restrictions were not put in place for nurseries he added: “Because we don’t think that the epidemiology justifies that- it doesn’t look to the scientists that it does.
“The risk of infection in primary schools is very low- but the risk in nurseries are even lower so the risk of transmission is thought to be less. The simple fact is we need to do what we can to keep education going where we can, it is an absolute priority for the country.
“The point is you are highlighting, is a point people are making, quite reasonably about all the restriction, why can I do X but not Y, and the answer is you have to draw the line somewhere to reduce the overall risk to the population.”
Asked whether firefighters would be used to help with the vaccine roll-out the Prime Minister said: “Of course I am a massive fan of the firefighters and they are medically trained, there is room for everybody to help in the vaccination programme as we ramp it up. We will be making use of all emergency services.
“At the moment the effort is being spearheaded by the NHS and the army and the constraints of what we can do is the supply of the vaccine not the amount of volunteers.”
On the subject of test centres being used as vaccine centres instead he said: “The problem isn’t a shortage of vaccine centres or volunteers it getting the stock of the production line.
“Testing is very important, its very important to get a test if you have any symptoms. Lateral flow tests are incredibly useful to help people continue lives.
“Especially companies testing their workforce and mass community tests can be extremely helpful in driving down the disease. It’s not the answer but it can be very useful in isolating those who have the disease.
“But at the moment vaccination is a lasting long term solution. Its going to be months and months before we vaccinated everyone in the country.”
Asked whether he thought it was a mistake to let people mix on Christmas Day the Prime Minister said: “I think I was very clear as soon as we saw the evidence of the rapid spread of the new variant that we had to have Christmas totally unlike any other
“We’ve gone across the whole country now with much tougher measures, almost as tough as they were in march. The intent of that is to make sure we don’t blow it now, As we start to roll out the vaccine.
“It is great to see what’s happening here at Ashton Gate plus the NHS and all of the volunteers- this is the first of 50 mass vaccination centres
“We have vaccinated two million people up until last night and we will ramp that up over the course of the next two weeks.
“I’m confident we will achieve what we want to achieve by the middle of February
“But the risk is that people won’t pay enough attention to the rules and the success of the vaccine programme will alas breed a complacency and that is really worrying and we cant have that people have got to follow the rules.”