Posted: Sun 17th Jan 2021

Mark Drakeford explains why thousands of Covid vaccines in Wales have yet to be used

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jan 17th, 2021

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The First Minister has explained why Wales has been supplied with 174,000 vaccine doses which have yet to be used

On Friday our sister site North.Wales asked the First Minister for clarity on the vaccination figures, with an amount of 300,000 doses reportedly supplied to Wales.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 126,375 doses have been given out from that total.

Mark Drakeford was asked whether the 300,000 figure was correct, and if so where the bottleneck was in terms of immunising people.

He was asked if it was an issue with vaccination centres, or if supplies were being held back so Wales does not run out.

The First Minister said: “The figure is broadly correct. It’s made up of around, in very broad terms 50,000 of the Oxford vaccine, and 250,000 of the Pfizer vaccine.

“We will have been using all the Oxford vaccine that we get, as we get it, the Pfizer vaccine has to last us into the first week of February so we have to provide it on a week by week basis.

“What you can’t do is to try and stand up a system which uses all the vaccine you’ve got in week one and it has nothing to offer for the next four weeks.

“We won’t get another delivery of the Pfizer vaccine until the very end of January or maybe the beginning of February.

“That 250,000 doses is going last for six weeks and that’s why you haven’t seen it all used in week one because we have got to space it out over the weeks that it’s got to cover.

“We are expecting a significant upswing in the Oxford vaccine coming to Wales next week and we will use all of that, because it is a much easier vaccine to use and can be used in GP practices and so on.

“We will continue to use the Pfizer vaccine in a way that will mean we will use it all before we get the next delivery.”

His comments appear to have raised eyebrows among some of his political opponents, including Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Quoting a Welsh GP who said the decision made “no clinical sense whatsoever”, the Ynys Mon MS said: “Exactly – just get it out asap”.

Delyn Conservative MP Rob Roberts also said he was “baffled” by the comments.

He said: “Welsh Government has received over 300,000 doses and has given around 125,000 doses.

“Surgeries across North Wales are being told that planned deliveries are being delayed. I can’t understand the rationale for keeping tens of thousands of doses in storage.

“People are scared and concerned. The Health Board has a coherent plan to get the job done.
“But if they don’t have the vaccine to put in people’s arms because WGov isn’t sending it, what can they do?
“Why are the people of North Wales let down by Welsh Labour time after time?”

On Thursday we also spoke to the First Minister, again asking about vaccines.

Mr Drakeford said: “What we’ve already said is in the very early days because of the rural nature of quite a lot of Wales, we faced some additional challenges with a Pfizer vaccine because of the way it’s got to be stored and the way that it can be delivered.

“As somebody who knows an awful lot more about this than me said to me yesterday, you’ve got to remember with the Pfizer vaccine if you walked upstairs too quickly with it from the ground floor to the first floor, it could be unusable by the time you get to the first floor.”

“That vaccine is and has to be stored and used incredibly carefully.”

This week our sister site reported the splits and tables between Pfizer and Oxford vaccines in the draft vaccination plan for North Wales – you can read that here.

Top pic: Pfizer vaccines in Wrexham

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