Vaccinations will pull R number down - Whitty

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COVID-19 vaccinations in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's vaccination programme will pull down the COVID-19 reproduction "R" number, England's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said on Monday.

"There will, at some point, be a surge of cases and R is going to creep closer to 1 ... It might at some point exceed 1 and at that point we would expect to see some cases rising,” he told a news conference.

"The vaccination takes a lot of the heavy lifting on this and once we’ve got a large proportion of the population vaccinated, our expectation is that will pull the natural R ... down."

(Reporting by James Davey, editing by Elizabeth Piper)