Speaking on Tuesday – the day after England’s shops and pubs reopened as part of the second stage of the government’s restriction loosening plan – Johnson said it is “very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers, in hospitalisations and in deaths and in infections, has not been achieved by the vaccination program.”
"The reduction in numbers… has not been achieved by the vaccination programme… the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown"
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 13, 2021
People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic,” Johnson said in comments that stunned many on social media. He added that though the vaccination program “has helped,” the “bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.”
The prime minister soon came under fire from Brits of all political persuasions, who accused him of minimising the results of his vaccine rollout, which the government has repeatedly claimed would be the holy grail offering a “way out” of the pandemic.
I'm sorry, WHAAAAT?!!
Boris: "The reduction in hospitalisations, deaths and infections has NOT been achieved by the vaccination programme.
"It's the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic."
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) April 13, 2021
That’s the answer then? Just lock down forever? Does that mean the vaccine doesn’t really work? Utter shambles…..
— Paul Saunders (@psmariners) April 13, 2021
Might aswell stop the vaccine roll out then if that’s the case… I’ve never heard so much bollocks
— Chris Garbutt (@YoungGarbo) April 13, 2021
Others called his comments “utter rubbish” and “a gift to anti-vaxxers, vaccine and virus deniers,” and accused him of trying to pave “the way for future lockdowns,” as well as justify the previous year of punishing lockdowns.
Utter rubbish. Vaccinations prevent you becoming seriously ill. Lockdowns merely delay the inevitable exposure to it. If Boris doesn’t understand this point we’re in serious trouble.
— Hugh Jarrett (@hugh_jarrett) April 13, 2021
That wins the most ridiculous statement of the day. It's a gift to anti-vaxxers, vaccine and virus deniers.
— Laura Cattell (@LauraCattell1) April 13, 2021
Johnson did, however, find a small amount of support from some Brits, who called his claims “sensible” and “honest.”
“Finally, Boris is talking sense,” praised one person. “He has moved away from herd immunity and realizes that lockdown and following Covid safe guidelines is the only way moving forward, till 80% get vaccinated.”
Over 32 million people in the UK have received their first vaccine dose and over 7,656,000 have received their second dose, placing the UK near the top of the world vaccination list.