Posted: Tue 26th Jan 2021

Cold weather blamed as Welsh Government fails to hit target of vaccinating 70% of over-80s against Covid-19

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 26th, 2021

The cold weather in Wales over the weekend has been blamed as the Welsh Government failed to hit its target of vaccinating 70% of over-80s against Covid-19.

The latest figures show that 96,830 over-80s have received their first dose of the vaccine, which represents 52.8% of the total number in the country.

The Welsh Conservatives have criticised the government for missing the target, which it was hoping to achieve by the end of Sunday.

However, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the icy conditions had hampered its efforts.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions this afternoon, he said: “Our ambition is to vaccinate all people—or offer vaccination to all people in those top four groups by the middle of February. That continues to be our ambition.

“The aim of getting 70 per cent of the 80-plus age range was affected over the weekend by the adverse weather.

“We know that a large number of people aged over 80 did not feel that it was safe for them to leave their homes in the snow and, indeed, yesterday morning, in the very cold and icy conditions weren’t able to attend appointments at GP clinics or in mass vaccination centres.

“All of those people will have been offered another opportunity for vaccination by the end of Wednesday of this week. So, we will very rapidly make up for that number.

“The figures of people being offered vaccination and able to take it up in Wales over the last week have been remarkable, and that should give us all confidence that we will have offered vaccination to everyone in that group in line with the ambition that we set out at the outset.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said yesterday that it would be another “day or two” before it was clear whether the target had been met.

Mr Drakeford later said that there was “a lag” between the data seen daily by ministers and the information made available to the public every day.

But Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, who returned to the role over the weekend, accused the government of failing to stick to its targets.

He said: “The people of Wales want to know that the speed and the roll-out are catching up with other parts of the United Kingdom, and when you set yourself a target, you hit the target.

“I’ve dealt in facts today; you’ve constantly tried to deflect from that, First Minister.

“It would be far better if, when you make a commitment, you stick to it. So, what are you doing to close that population gap that has opened up with England of 50,000 people?

“As I said, that is a town the size of Barry being vaccinated, and that is of critical importance, First Minister.”

Mr Drakeford responded by saying: “Let me give the member a few facts. On Tuesday of last week, we had succeeded in vaccinating 162,000 people in Wales.

“This Tuesday, that has risen to 290,000 people. That’s the fastest rate of increase of any part of the United Kingdom.

“Last Monday, we vaccinated 10,000 people; this Monday, we vaccinated nearly 20,000 people.

“That is the speed of the roll-out here in Wales—a speed which is urgent, a speed which is dedicated, a speed which is succeeding.

“He may want to run it down. He leads a Conservative party in Wales which has reverted to its nineteenth-century type: for Wales, see England.

“It’s not good enough, it doesn’t wash and he’s going to have to do better than that.”

 

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