French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that current Covid-19 vaccines should work against a new strain of the virus, believed to originate in the South East and East of England.
“In theory, there is no reason to think that the vaccine should not be effective,” Mr Veran told Europe 1 radio on Monday.
On 19 December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed lockdown measures on over 16 million people in the newly created Tier 4, which is concentrated in the East and South East of England.
The strain is of particular concern due to current data showing it is up to 70 per cent more transmissible. However, the Prime Minister assured the public that current understanding dictates that this virus is not more deadly, and that a vaccine should be effective on the new strain.
Mr Veran also said that there is “every possibility” that the new strain of the virus is spreading within France.
The new strain has caused a number of countries to prohibit flights from the UK in an effort to stop the spread, and has also caused the Channel Tunnel to close.
The news has caused the Prime Minister to perform a U-Turn on plans for a 5-day Christmas in England, with those in tier 4 not permitted to mix households, and those in other tiers allowed to mix with two other households on the 25th only.
Mixing for the Christmas period is still permitted in France, despite strict measures including an 8pm curfew.