VACCINATION rollout is continuing apace, another milestone being reached last week.

One and a half million doses is something to be proud of for those delivering it and for the rest of us to be reassured by. Minds are now rightly turning to post lockdown but continued vigilance is needed.

Finland has just introduced a three-week national emergency and lockdown as a variant of the UK strain appeared there. The worry for authorities both sides of the border is the outbreak of yet another variant and one that would be immune to the vaccine. That’s the reason for caution, we can’t risk undermining all the efforts and sacrifice that have been made.

But come out of lockdown we will and planning for it is under way. The time’s coming when the pendulum must swing and it’ll be continuing to shield the vulnerable but allowing the rest of us to go about our business once again. That tipping point is being neared by the rollout.

The budget will have been announced by the time this appears and it’s pivotal to post-lockdown life. Continuing furlough for sectors that can’t reopen is essential but support for employers trying to keep folk on the payroll is equally vital. Businesses are hanging on by their fingernails and it will take time for life to return to normal. Assistance so they can retain employees until things normalise is essential as, for many, trade will be down but it’s in all our interests that staffing remains the same.

Parliament was quieter last week as minds turned to the budget but it was an opportunity for organisations to have their say. Several charities were rightly pointing out how severe lockdown had been for the vulnerable and their carers. The briefing I listened into on dementia was stark in its detail and indeed distressing in parts. I know from a friend how cruel it is and coronavirus has worsened even that. Motor neurone disease was similar. Life has been harder than ever for vulnerable groups, so support for them must be greater than ever.