Posted: Mon 18th Jan 2021

First Minister under fire as concerns grow over thousands of coronavirus vaccines being held back in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jan 18th, 2021

First Minister Mark Drakeford has come under fire as concerns grow over thousands of coronavirus vaccines being held back in Wales.

On Friday our sister site North.Wales asked the First Minister for clarity on the vaccination figures, after details that 300,000 doses had been supplied to the country emerged in a Senedd session a week ago.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 151,737 have been given out from that total, leaving around 150,000 outstanding.

Mr Drakeford said that while all supplies of the Oxford vaccine are being used as they are delivered, the Pfizer vaccine is being staggered on a week by week basis with no new delivery expected until early February.

He doubled down on those comments earlier today by stating that Wales is not using all its available Pfizer vaccines because he does not want to leave those administering immunisations “standing around with nothing to do” for weeks.

Reiterating his original comments to North.Wales, he told BBC Radio 4: “The Pfizer vaccine we have has to last us until the beginning of February.

“We won’t get another delivery of that until the very end of January or probably in the beginning of February.

“Therefore, we have to use that over that six week stretch. There will be no point, and certainly it will be logistically very damaging, to try and use all of that in the first week and then to have all our vaccinators standing around with nothing to do for another month.

“The system we would have would not be in a position to then go on doing the job we need to do over the weeks ahead.

“The sensible thing to do is to use the vaccine you’ve got over the period that you’ve got it for so that your system can absorb it, it can go on working and you don’t have people standing around with nothing to do.”

The comments have widely been criticised amid confusion over the Welsh Government’s approach.

Doctors’ union BMA Cymru Wales urged ministers to stop “sitting on” supplies, questioning why they couldn’t be used to provide two doses to health workers as soon as possible.

Dr David Bailey, Chair of the BMA in Wales, said: “I’m deeply concerned by the comments I’ve heard today and advise Welsh Government to look again at the roll-out strategy.

“For the First Minister to say that there is ‘no point’ in using all the supplies in a week to ensure vaccinators aren’t standing around with nothing to do is truly bewildering.

“Frontline staff are risking their lives to help others – the priority must be to get the second dose administered to those who have received the first, and to accelerate first doses for all remaining vaccinations to ensure maximum protection for staff and patients.

“We are asking Welsh Government to stop sitting on supplies and get on with it.”

Welsh Conservative health spokesman, Andrew RT Davies, claimed it was proof that the roll out in Wales was not working.

He said: “Whether intended or not, this outburst of honesty from the First Minister tells the Welsh people all they need to know.

“The Welsh Labour Government is failing to deliver its vaccine programme.

“His shocking doubling-down on his decision to delay deployment of Pfizer vaccine supplies is dangerous, and makes no clinical sense whatsoever.

“We need to get these vaccinations into people’s arms ASAP. Lives and livelihoods across Wales are at stake.”

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth, also called for an explanation of the “rationing” approach.

He said: “Wales appears now to be dramatically behind England in terms of vaccine rollout, so to see the First Minister being relaxed about the slow pace of the vaccine roll-out here is very, very frustrating.

“The most recent data from both NHS England and Public Health Wales demonstrates that Wales is lagging way behind.

“Welsh Government must give an update on vaccines made available for Wales – of each type – plus numbers vaccinated in Wales compared to England, using the different types of vaccine, and on the projected supply of vaccines in the weeks to come. Why are we rationing here?

“Transparency is crucial at this stage so that progress can be measured, and that both governments can be held accountable and questioned on progress where needed.”

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: [email protected]
Latest News

  • Praise for rookie Police Dog Vega who tracked down alleged copper thieves in Connah’s Quay
  • Natural Resources Wales: Environmental cleanup removes derelict boats from Dee Estuary
  • North Wales Police warns of abnormal load travelling on A55 through Flintshire

  • More...

    Praise for rookie Police Dog Vega who tracked down alleged copper thieves in Connah’s Quay

    News

    Natural Resources Wales: Environmental cleanup removes derelict boats from Dee Estuary

    News

    North Wales Police warns of abnormal load travelling on A55 through Flintshire

    News

    Vaughan Gething denies onus is on him to prove leak allegations against Delyn MS Hannah Blythyn

    News

    Update: A548 between Bagillt and Flint back open following earlier collision

    News

    Flintshire Council confirms reopening of the A550 Tinkersdale

    News

    Flint’s Jade Jones all set for Paris Olympics after being cleared of any wrongdoing in doping investigation

    News

    No dog fouling fines issued in Flintshire last year

    News

    Alyn and Deeside MP tackles potential job losses at Kimberly-Clark in Flint

    News