Welsh Parliament opposition party leaders have raised concerns about the availability and administration of the COVID vaccine in Wales.
Following First Minister’s Questions, Paul Davies MS – the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament said: “I had hoped that, after the belated publication yesterday of the COVID vaccination strategy, that we would have a range of concrete answers and commitments from the First Minister on the rollout of the vaccine and the recruitment of retired clinicians to assist in its administration.
“There are scores of retired clinicians wanting to help, people who, to use Churchill’s famous line, are literally saying ‘Give us the tools, and we will finish the job’.
“Therefore give these people the tools they need, make the vaccines fully available without a postcode lottery becoming established, and ramp up the opening of vaccination centres to accelerate Wales’ vaccination programme.”
Adam Price MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru, called for a “real step up” in order to outpace the virus.
Responding to a Welsh Government press conference, in which the Health Minister confirmed that all priority groups in Phase One would be vaccinated “by Spring”, Mr Price called for answers as to why the response from Wales has been behind other UK nations, and what lessons have been learnt.
Mr Price said: “The announcement of the vaccine deployment plan is a positive step, and it’s something that Plaid Cymru has long been calling for.
“We now need a real step up in terms of pace. We’ve been told this is a marathon, not a sprint, but that diminishes the urgency that is needed right now. The Welsh Government has admitted there is a gap – they now need to tell us what they’re going to do to close this gap between Wales and the other UK nations.
“The plan does not yet tell us how government is going to get from 86,000 people being vaccinated in 1 month, to 1.6m people being vaccinated ‘by Spring’ – this concrete detail is needed for any good roadmap.
“There are also unanswered questions about why the response in Wales has been different to the rest of the UK, and what lessons have been learnt. We know that Wales has a higher proportion of people in the higher priority groups, yet we’re only getting a population share.
“We have to outpace the virus and to do that we need to be able to see the road along which we are travelling.”