Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation , said Britons should still continue to socially distance in the “coming weeks and months” despite the success of the UK vaccine programme.
So far more than 32 million people in the country have had their first dose. On Saturday a record 475,230 second doses were given out, with more than 7.6 million people now fully vaccinated.
Prof Finn’s comments came as the country entered phase two of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, with pub beer gardens and restaurants are now able to serve customers outdoors, and non-essential retailers and hairdressers also allowed to reopen.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Prof Finn said: “The vaccines are only one part of the solution to the problem.
“People do need to continue to be careful and to avoid infecting each other.
“I certainly for one am going to continue to take a lot of care to avoid exposing myself to other people and to avoid exposing other people to me over the coming weeks and months.
“I’m going to wear a mask outside. I’m going to continue to use hand hygiene and I’m going to avoid close social contact,” he added.
Prof Finn went on to say: “I think we all need to continue to do that otherwise there is a real risk that there will be another surge in cases and we’ll start seeing hospitalisations and deaths again.”
On Monday, pictures showed thousands of people across the UK enjoying their new freedoms and drinking in beer gardens and other outdoor venues.
But many did not appear to be socially distancing or wearing masks.
“If I did (go to a beer garden) I would certainly avoid contact with other people,” Prof Finn said.
“I think the risks of transmissions outside are relatively low but not if you start coming into close contact with people… if you cough or sing or really basically confront someone in the face,” he told the presenters.