Posted: Tue 19th Jan 2021

Vaughan Gething: “The first minister clarified yesterday the vaccines aren’t being held back, we’re going as quickly as we can”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 19th, 2021

Wales’ Health Minister has been across the airwaves this morning in a bid to clear up confusion caused by comments made by First Minister Mark Drakeford. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The remarks were made yesterday in which he implied some vaccines were being held back. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Drakeford was questioned last week by our sister site Wrexham.com on the vaccine deliver,  he was asked why Wales has been supplied with 174,000 vaccine doses that have not yet been used, and specifically asked if there was throttling taking place and where the issues were to get the vaccines out. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Drakeford confirmed that whilst the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is being used “as we get it”, doses of the Pfizer vaccine “have to last until February so we have to provide it week on week”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He doubled down on those comments yesterday 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 comments, he told BBC Radio 4 on Monday, “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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In a video posted on social media later on Monday afternoon Mark Drakeford said: “Let me be clear, nobody is holding back vaccines.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“All our health boards are receiving doses of the Pfizer vaccine as quickly as they can use it.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In a bid to further clear up confusion this morning, health minister Vaughan Gething told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The first minister clarified yesterday the vaccines aren’t being held back, we’re going as quickly as we can.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our infrastructure is now in a place where it can deal with lots more of the Pfizer vaccine and of course the increased supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine which is much easier to move.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“So the story in truth, here in Wales is an increasing urgency and an increasing pace of delivery and our vaccine roll outs.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Pushed on why Mark Drakeford made the initial comments about pacing delivery of the vaccine, Mr Gething said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The first minister’s clarified those comments and made clear that we’re not holding any vaccine back.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our challenge has always been having enough infrastructure to deliver the Pfizer jab without wasting it.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“On wastage rates in Wales, we’ve got a really good story to tell, less than 1% of that vaccine is not being delivered, that’s a very very high level of efficiency in what we’re doing.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This week we’ll deliver even more of our Pfizer vaccine than last week.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Every UK nation has stocks the Pfizer vaccine they’re keeping in freezer facilities because we all receive the last delivery of Pfizer about a month ago, so we’re all working through that as quickly as we can.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We’re all working through that as quickly as we can, just as we are here in Wales, it’s the same in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“You can see the varying rates of delivery, you can see we’ve caught up with Scotland and expect we’re going to do even more this week.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If you look to the international stage, Wales will be the fifth best performing country in the world.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I’m very clear that if we achieve our milestones, we will be in the same place as other UK nations at pretty much the same time having all four of the first priority groups having their first vaccine jab by the middle of February.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said we people in Wales need confidence in the system. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He told BBC Radio Wales this morning: “We have had a series of knocks to people’s confidence, first in the statistics that came out showing that far more vaccines have been delivered to Wales than had been given to people. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Then we have this incredibly confusing couple of days where the first minister says categorically they’re holding the vaccine back, then within a few hours saying no we’re not holding the vaccine back.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“That kind of lack of clarity breeds confusion, I’m asking for the latest data on what exactly is happening so we can hold government to account for the people of Wales.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board issued an update on the roll out ond the vaccine in North Wales, Chris Stockport, Executive Director of Primary and Community Care said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“As of last week over a quarter of both Priority Groups 1 and 2 (including those aged over 80) in North Wales have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“All 98 GP practices in the region are now part of the vaccine roll-out.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“71 of them have already started to administer the vaccine, with the remaining practices due to take delivery of the vaccine this week, and this is in addition to the mass vaccination centres which are also available.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We aim for all people aged over 80 to have had their first dose of the vaccine by the end of next week.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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