A VACCINE should not be seen as the ‘silver bullet’ in the fight against Covid, an inquiry led by an Oxford MP has warned.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus has been holding a public inquiry asking how the Government has been handling the response to Covid.

Scientific experts, bereaved families, health workers and those suffering from long Covid have all spoken about the impact of Covid in a series of hearings held by the group, led by Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran.

Now an ‘interim report’ based on what the MPs have heard has been published.

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It sets out a series of 44 recommendations to the Government on how it can do a better job of tackling the ongoing pandemic.

At the heart of the recommendations is a ‘Covid Secure UK’ plan, described as an exit strategy for beating the virus.

This is split into three sections: Control, Suppress and Eliminate.

To improve control over the virus - keeping the R rate below 1 - the report recommends handing more control of contact tracing to local public health teams, and giving more generous financial support to people who have to isolate.

Oxford Mail:

Layla Moran, the MP who chairs the APPG on Coronavirus

To suppress Covid, it suggests more needs to be done to communicate between the Government, councils and devolved administrations.

It also suggests that people travelling to the UK from abroad should be tested three days before and five days after they arrive to prevent the virus re-emerging from abroad.

And to eliminate the virus, a ‘mass vaccination’ programme is needed according to the report.

It says there is ‘no such thing as Herd Immunity to Covid-19 in the absence of an effective vaccine’ as allowing it to spread uncontrolled could be devastating.

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However it warns: “A future vaccine should not be relied upon as a ‘silver bullet’” because it is not yet known how long immunity provided by any of the vaccines available will last.

As the report was launched, Ms Moran said: “We were clear from the outset we are doing this in hope of being helpful to the Government.”

She added she hoped the Government would meet with the APPG on Coronavirus and consider the report.

The Oxford MP said: “When I asked Boris Johnson back in July whether he would take this seriously he said he would What I would say to Boris Johnson is this is the moment to work with us on this.”

The report also set out to challenge the Government narrative that tackling the pandemic was a choice between the ‘health and wealth’ of the nation, and found that countries which had followed paths similar to their recommendations had saved more lives and suffered less economic damage.

A Government spokesperson said: “Our response to this unprecedented global pandemic has been guided by the advice of experts from SAGE and its sub-committees throughout.

“We have worked closely with devolved administrations to reach agreement on a single set of UK-wide measures to help families and friends meet up in a limited and cautious way this Christmas, based on scientific and clinical advice.

“NHS Test and Trace is helping to stop the spread of coronavirus, with more than 40 million tests carried out and contacted more than 3 million people told to self-isolate.

“We have also been working tirelessly to deliver more than 5.4 billion items of PPE to the frontline so far, and almost 32 billion items have been ordered to meet the future needs of health and social care staff.”