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England’s jab sites a ‘free-for-all’ says Wales’ Health Minister as she defends lack of walk-in centres

02 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Health Minister Eluned Morgan. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Wales’ Health Minister has defended a lack of walk-in booster jab centres in Wales by saying that those in England are a “free-for-all”.

Eluned Morgan was responding to calls for walk-in centres to be opened in Wales amid concerns about a low take-up of the booster jabs to increase immunity to coronavirus.

Montgomeryshire MS Russell George said that in England you could get a booster dose from a walk-in site if it’s been at least six months since your second dose, and asked when Wales would be adopting the same approach.

The Minister replied saying the Welsh Government is looking to deliver boosters in a “systematic way”, accusing the English system of walk-in centres for priority groups being a “free-for-all”.

“I’m pleased to say that about 68 per cent of care home residents have already had their booster jabs, as have about 54 per cent of care home workers and NHS workers,” she said. “So, these are the first categories that we’re looking at.

“We’re not going to be opening it up to a free-for-all in the way that they have in England. We’ll be more systematic than that, following the kind of advice that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation gave in the first round.”

‘Not acceptable’

A booster jab is the third vaccination against Covid-19 and should be delivered six months after the second in an effort to maintain high levels of immunity against the virus.

They are being delivered to priority groups such as care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, those with underlying health conditions, and adults over 50 years of age. These groups are being invited for their booster jab by health boards.

Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said that he thought the numbers would be much higher if people did not have to wait to be invited, instead having the option of a walk-in centre.

“Given the worry that ministers express about coronavirus rates in Wales, I am surprised that this is not the priority of the Labour Government right now, who instead think expanding the use of vaccine passports is a better use of time and energy when they have been nothing more than an ineffective limiting of our liberties that fail to increase uptake of the vaccine or limit the spread,” he said.

“Meanwhile, people in England can walk into a centre for their booster jab but those in Wales can’t. It is not acceptable that Welsh people cannot access the same level of safety as our English cousins. I hope the Minister changes her mind and urgently acts on our reasonable calls.”

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Robert Williams
Robert Williams
1 month ago

If Russell George had done his homework he would know that this has been tried in Wales. I don’t know if it was throughout Hywel Dda, but at least here in Aberystwyth for a short period people were given their boosters on a ‘walk-in’ basis, but this led to … er … a free-for all, and had to be suspended.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago

I confirm that a relative went to a local walk in centre, in the Hywel Dda area, but then had to go to a different one almost 30 miles away as it was not possible for her to have it at the local one! A total shambles.

Last edited 1 month ago by Huw Davies
Gareth P
Gareth P
1 month ago

As before as is now, Eluned Morgan is woefully out of her depth, remember the self congratulatory valediction of when 1st and 2nd doses were deployed, yet We in Wales seem to taking an awful long time to deploy boosters despite the media ad by Welsh NHS to get vaccinated. For once the Welsh Conservatives are correct in seeking faster deployment of the boosters, perhaps the real reality is that walk in centres would be deterimental to Welsh Labour how pitiful the current IT NHS system is in Wales to identify who has been vaccinated, and the poor decision to… Read more »

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth P

Agreed. EM appears not to understand how to engage those who would be attracted to these centres.

I have seen them in the big cities of England but perhaps not much use for the city of St David’s in her own patch.;?

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard
Shan Morgain
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth P

See @Robert Williams’ post above. Epidemic/ pandemic control is not about dumping a scatter of individual solutions – that is patchy and leaves dangerous empty spaces of unprotected groups and (carrier) individuals. The science is about a systematic approach which must be backed by methodical records so who is immune – and who is not – can be tracked. One walk-in person might be safe but others in household or school are not and this is all about controlling pools of infection. The key is the word control.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

The Welsh labour govt health minister Eluned Morgan needs to explain why we have some of the highest covid 19 infection rates in the world in Wales 😱☹️. She has nothing to congratulate herself for.

Cat
Cat
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

The working hypothesis seems to be that we were faster in the rollout of the vaccine and so we are faster in our collective immunity dropping. Either that or people just cant be bothered in adhering to the guidance anymore – but I don’t see any less compliance here than in England.

ArgolFawr!
ArgolFawr!
1 month ago

“English system of walk-in centres for priority groups being a “free-for-all”. [Eluned Morgan]….

No different than a Transport for Wales trip to a Rugby international then.

What Ismyname
What Ismyname
1 month ago

I am far more likely to attend for my booster at a time and place of my choice than respond to a “summons” with a fixed time that is inconvenient at a fixed location miles away from where I live!

Andrew Redman
Andrew Redman
1 month ago

Carmarthen testing /vaccine centre at the Market was overwhelmed last week and people were turned away. If the FM is advising people to get their boosters then the infrastructure needs to be in place to cope with the numbers?

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