Over 12 million Brits have now received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the latest positive step as the UK aims to return to normal by late summer.

With the number of cases still hitting over 10,000 a day, the UK has some way to go before we see a return to pre-pandemic life, but is normality within touching distance?

Though the UK is ahead of schedule in its vaccine roll-out, with more than 1,000 people receiving their jab per minute at one point on Saturday, scientists and experts alike have urged the public not to become lenient with coronavirus safety measures such as social distancing.

It is well documented that both the current vaccines in circulation as well as the ones still facing clinical trials work, but England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has warned it can take several weeks for the jab to have the desired effect and strengthen your body's immunity.

A woman wearing a face mask walks past an entrance to Bank Underground Station as England remains under third lockdown to reduce the Covid-19 infection rates.
Experts have warned things like face masks may be in place for months to come

It is currently unknown whether the jabs have any impact on helping to curb transmission of the virus, but recent studies compiled by Oxford University shows the AstraZeneca jab could reduce transmission by 67%.

Prof Whitty confirmed that vaccines “probably reduce the risk of transmission" but revealed scientists are “not absolutely confident about by how much”.

Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Witty speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street,
Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street

It is looking increasingly likely that people will have to be re-vaccinated yearly to halt the spread or a potential resurgence of the virus.

Has the lockdown worked?

One aspect of coronavirus that makes it a particularly difficult virus to track and stop the spread of is the length of time in terms of the viruses incubation period. Given it can take up to 14 days to show signs of infection, it is hard to trace whether things like cases are declining.

However, Prof Whitty did reveal during a Downing Street briefing last week: “I think that most of my colleagues think we are past the peak.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, is shown how to prepare the vaccine by advance nurse practitioner Sarah Sowden.
Boris Johnson witnessing how the Covid-19 vaccine is prepared

“Provided people continue to follow the guidelines”, the UK is on the downward slope of cases, of hospitalisations and of deaths.”

When will things get back to normal?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown is set to be made public as of February 22, where his approach to easing restrictions is set to be a cautious one.

He said: “We have got a timetable for the way ahead, we don’t want to be forced into reverse.”

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leads a virtual news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic inside 10 Downing Street in London.
Boris Johnson leading a virtual news conference inside Downing Street

Schools are reported to be the first establishments to open, with March 8 touted as the earliest date in England and Northern Ireland, though Wales and Scotland will return to classrooms two weeks earlier on February the 22nd.

Prof Whitty told the media at a Downing Street briefing “This coronavirus is not going to go away, just as flu doesn’t go away, just as many other viruses don’t go away.” Though he did go on to state that the level of risk the virus poses will "go right down" as of Spring.