ALMOST half of OAPs broke lockdown rules after having their first jab.
Around two in five over-80 rebels met someone outside their household or bubble indoors less than three weeks after a dose.
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Data from the Office of National Statistics reveals 41 per cent of elderly rule benders – many starved of proper company for months – sidestepped current Government restrictions.
People in England can only meet one other person outside their household or bubble for exercise outside in this lockdown.
But having one jab has given more OAPs the peace of mind to leave home more, with 54 per cent saying they'd gone shopping.
The majority of older people have been shielding for the better part of nearly a year – due to being the most at risk from coronavirus.
But as Britain’s jabs rollout steams onwards, all over-80s have now all been offered or had at least one vaccine dose.
Although just under half had side effects from the injection, 96 per cent said they would tell others to get the shot.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: "It's good to see the confidence most over-80s have in vaccination and this leads us to hope that when the scientists say it's safe most people in this age group will feel able to venture out and engage once again in local life.
"It's interesting that two in five over-80s say they have not abided by the letter of the lockdown guidance because they have met with someone indoors.
“This isn't really a surprise; we know that many families have felt the need to pop in to help their older relatives on occasions and that loneliness and depression have led some to conclude that it's better to take a calculated risk in this respect than feel profoundly miserable on their own.
“I broke the rules myself a few weeks ago by helping a neighbour in her nineties understand an official letter that was worrying her. She is bedbound and hard of hearing and insisted on talking to me to face to face.
“I was very conscious of the potential risk of infection and took all the precautions I could. It felt like the right thing to do and I imagine many others have found themselves in similar positions.
"When situations like this arise it's down to us all to be responsible and use our common sense."
Full protection is not achieved until the second dose however, with the first dose not kicking in until 14-21 days after the jab.
And even after the second shot, people can still catch the disease, just nowhere near as badly.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "It's important that people continue to follow the guidelines that are in place."
Asked if the elderly were behaving irresponsibly, the spokesman said: "We are asking everybody to continue to follow the rules and guidelines."
Those who have been told to shield are still able to go outside for exercise but must stay at home as much as possible.
Contact with anyone outside the household, care system or support bubble should be avoided – but there are some exemptions for visiting vulnerable people who need urgent help or care.
It comes as Matt Hancock confirmed a single dose of either the Oxford or Pfizer vaccine can slash hospitalisations from Covid in older people by 80 per cent.
The Health Secretary also revealed that the British jab may even offer better protection from catching the disease after new data was published.
The figures, taken from a Public Health England (PHE), were calculated by comparing people who had received a first dose of the jab with others of a similar age who had not got their vaccine yet.
Addressing the nation at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Hancock said the data was "extremely good news".
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