Government considers dropping self-isolation for those with two jabs

The government is considering dropping forced self-isolation for those who have had two coronavirus jabs, Sky News understands. Sky's political correspondent Rob Powell said it was "early days but the

Government considers dropping self-isolation for those with two jabs

The government is considering dropping forced self-isolation for those who have had two coronavirus jabs, Sky News understands.

Sky's political correspondent Rob Powell said it was "early days but the idea is being discussed in Westminster and people would instead have to take daily tests".

It is unclear whether the proposal would only come in after all adults have been offered two doses, Powell said.

There is likely to be pressure to ensure younger people do not lose out as many will have to wait until autumn for their second dose.

Powell said the idea of offering more privileges to people who've had two jabs "is clearly in the ascendancy".

It comes after public health expert Professor Linda Bauld also said fully vaccinated people might be able to avoid self-isolation in future.

She said the rule could stand even if people had come into contact with an infected person.

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Professor Bauld told Sky News: "It would mean that if you are told by one of the apps or NHS Test and Trace... that you have been in touch with someone who's tested positive for COVID-19, you wouldn't then be advised to isolate, but you would be asked to take regular tests."

She said a similar system was already in place in America.

"If want to move ahead and not have people losing time at work - or indeed in education... then we are going to have to adapt our guidance to make it reasonable," said Prof Bauld.

"Long spells of self-isolation are damaging for lots and lots of reasons, and that's something I think we have to work to avoid once we have many more people vaccinated."

She made her comments as it was warned that a third wave of infections "is definitely under way" and the "race is firmly on" between the vaccine rollout and the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Latest data showed the variant now accounts for almost all of the UK's coronavirus cases, according to Public Health England.

It comes as everyone aged 18 and over can now book to get vaccinated in England.

Professor Adam Finn, who advises the government on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), described as "interesting" the idea of scrapping 10-day self-isolation for double-jabbed people.

He told Times Radio: "We know that the vaccine, particularly after two doses, is highly effective at stopping you from getting seriously ill, 20 times less likely to end up in hospital.

"We also know that it will reduce your chances of getting milder illness and infecting other people, but it's probably less good at doing that than it is preventing you getting seriously ill, so it's a kind of balance of risk thing."

Highlighting the rising number of cases, the University of Bristol academic told the BBC: "It's going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it's not going up any faster, but nevertheless it's going up, so this third wave is definitely under way.

"We can conclude that the race is firmly on between the vaccine programme, particularly getting older people's second doses done, and the Delta variant third wave."

Immunologist Professor Paul Moss told Sky News: "The vaccines that we have are very, very effective at preventing severe disease from the Delta variant."

Highlighting the move to start vaccinating the over-18s, he said: "There's no doubt if we can get that first dose in we will reduce the number of infections."

While having to be aware of new strains of the virus, Prof Moss added: "There's no evidence yet of a variant emerging that is resistant to the vaccines."

The latest figures from NHS England show that an estimated four in five adults in England have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The data shows that 35,507,916 first doses have been delivered up to 17 June, the equivalent of 80.2% of all people aged 18 and over.