A health chief has warned that Cumbria needs to keep coronavirus cases low to avoid more variations emerging as the vaccination process rolls on.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been shown to cut transmission in anyone who catches Covid-19, 24 hours after receiving even their first dose.

Cumbria has recorded levels of Covid-19 not seen since August and about three quarters of the eligible population have had their first dose.

Meanwhile, health bosses across the globe are expressing concern at the situation in India.

Cumbria’s director of Public Health Colin Cox said: “The situation in India is absolutely awful at the minute and it may feel far flung, but there’s an awful lot of people in this country with family there who may go and come back.

“It’s just a bit of a lesson in what can go wrong."

Although Cumbria’s Covid-19 picture is vastly different, the message from the public health director remains the same: “If we come out of lockdown, we do it carefully," he said.

Speaking of his concerns, he continued: “As we’re doing a vaccination programme, if we have lots of transmissions of the virus at the same time, that’s where new variants crop up.”

He added that new variants could be resistant to the vaccines produced, but there was a path out of the pandemic.

“We’ve really got to support the whole world to get vaccinated.”

Secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock, was pictured recently receiving the vaccine from Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

Speaking of the role public health bosses were playing in the media, Mr Cox said: “People need to be able to see that the people telling them to do it are themselves doing it.

“Communication is a crucial part of responding to a pandemic.

"I think it’s been really important that people in public health are able to get the word out.”

Mr Cox said that although he had not been called up to have the jab yet, he would take up the offer of a vaccine regardless of its origin.

Addressing the concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab he said: “All vaccines will have some very rare side effects.

“But what we know is the risk associated with getting that vaccine is much lower than the risk of getting Covid."