North Wales MS questions whether region is getting fair share of Covid-19 vaccine
A North Wales MS has questioned whether the region is getting its fair share of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd raised his concern with Health Minister Vaughan Gething after it emerged that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which accounts for a quarter of the Welsh population, was only getting 11.8% of the initial vaccines.
Mr Gruffydd said: “The prevalence of the disease in parts of the south may explain this anomaly but I’d like an explanation as to why we in the north are only getting about a half of the vaccines that we would get if it was on a per head basis.
“North Wales has a high population of elderly and vulnerable people.
“We also have many thousands of health and care workers and it’s important to know whether the allocation is being made on the basis of need or a straightforward headcount.
“As things stand, many people will feel that the north isn’t getting its fair share.”
The issue was originally highlighted in a story we shared over the weekend.
At the time, we were told the split across Wales was “based on the relative size of the priority population(s) in each of these areas”.
At today’s Welsh Government media briefing, we asked First Minister Mark Drakeford if the roll out was going to increase sharply, and if North Wales really had just under 12% of the priority population in Wales.
He said: “You can be sure North Wales has absolutely its population share of the vaccine we have, and Wales has a population share of the UK supply.
“Whatever comes into the UK, we get our fair share and then we try and make sure that every part of Wales has its fair share, as well.
“As you will know, some of the pioneering work that’s been done in relation to care home visiting has been happening in North Wales in a way that hasn’t been available elsewhere.
“We are dependent on complex supply chains and the UK Government has the lead in in making sure that vaccine does come into the United Kingdom.
“You’ll have heard some reports over night of some military preparation to make sure that if other routes into the UK are temporarily suspended because of the new variant, it will still be possible just to fly into Wales supplies of a Pfizer vaccine from Belgium.
“We remain hopeful, I mustn’t overstate it, that the Oxford vaccine will get regulatory approval soon and then we will have more rapid numbers available including the work that is being done in Wrexham to supply, what will then be the whole of United Kingdom.”
Deeside Rainbow Hospital, built within the Leisure Centre, will be used as a mass vaccination centre of Thursday.
Deeside along with the temporary Rainbow Hospitals in Llandudno and Bangor will be used to vaccinate nearly 2,000 care home staff.
Only people who have been contacted directly by the Health Board will be able to get the vaccine, and people are being reminded not to turn up without an appointment.
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