It’s been some 100 days since we began our mass Covid vaccination programme and thanks to the strong partnership of doctors, nurses, volunteers, scientists, and the armed forces, we’ve now given half of all adults in the UK a jab. In Andover the team effort has been fantastic to see, and the positivity and sense of relief from everyone has been a joy. At the time of writing, we’ve broken our daily records with more than 844,000 doses administered in a single day across the whole UK.

But there is one issue where I must provide strong reassurance - the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is completely safe. Both UK and EU health regulators (the MHRA and EMA) as well as the World Health Organisation have confirmed that the vaccine is safe and effective. Indeed, the Prime Minister has just had his dose, and as he recently said – the Oxford University jab is safe, the Pfizer jab is safe – the thing that isn’t safe is catching Covid. And by the way, I will happily take any jab they offer me when it’s my turn.

It is also true that we are receiving fewer vaccines than expected in the short term, but temporary interruptions will be inevitable in an effort of this scale. Importantly, all current bookings across Hampshire will go ahead as planned; local NHS bosses remain confident that they’ll meet the next target of offering a first dose to all over-50s by the middle of April, and nationally we are on track to have offered everybody the vaccination by the end of July.

So when you get that letter or call, I urge you to please get both your vaccines to protect yourself and those around you. Every jab is a step closer to us seeing our loved ones and friends, getting back to our livelihoods, and re-opening society.