An article which appeared in the Express and Star on October 4th 2020 written by Peter Madeley, Political Editor
Michael Fabricant has called on ministers to “inject a little optimism” into the prospect of Covid-19 being defeated – saying a vaccine was likely to be found before Christmas.
The Tory MP said the Government was failing to “handle the psychology” of the coronavirus crisis, with many people now resigned to long periods of lockdown restrictions “going on forever”.
He urged Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “give people realistic hope” that life will soon return to normal.
Two vaccines are believed to be close to approval, with ministers hopeful that one will start to roll out in small numbers in December, ahead of a mass programme in the Spring.
Lichfield MP Mr Fabricant said: “I think the Government is not handling the psychology well in this Covid crisis.
“Everyone thinks they can do it better, but in this instance there needs to be a slight change in emphasis to give people a realistic hope that the trials and tribulations we are all going through is temporary and will not be a permanent future.
“At the moment the virus is viewed as a balloon. You squeeze it in one place and it pops up elsewhere.
“What people must realise is that we will soon have a needle that will pop the balloon, and that is literally the vaccine needle.”
Mr Fabricant added: “Many people I meet seem unaware of the spectacular advances now going on with the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
“I think that this is giving rise to people saying ‘what the hell, there is no point in sticking with the rules, this cannot carry on like this forever’.
“I am calling on the Government to inject a little optimism into the prospect of Covid being defeated over the next few months.
“At least two vaccines are nearing completion, have no side effects, and are effective in giving immunity, or at least near immunity, to Covid-19.
“There is a vivid light at the end of the long tunnel we have been in since March, and people need to know that as long as we can keep the virus down over the final furlongs, we will get to the stage where the vaccine can be rolled out over a number of months to the whole population.
“We may need booster shots every six months or a year, there may be mutations which need a different vaccination, but the infrastructure is being put in place that means we can return to normal within the next six months.”
Mr Fabricant said he had spoken to both Mr Hancock and Mr Johnson regarding the issue.
“It is important that people realise that this isn’t going to go on forever, and that having a vaccine in circulation will put an end to all the restrictions we have.”
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he believes a vaccine will be in circulation in the UK by Easter, describing the development of the Oxford vaccine as “encouraging”.
Mr Johnson recently told the Commons: “We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass-testing but unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.
“For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives and I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue.”