The “failure” to appoint a Vaccines Minister will hamper the rollout of the Covid vaccination, according to the Tory leader in the Senedd.
Paul Davies MS was reacting to the publication of the Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy today by the Welsh Government, which it accused of “dither and delay.”
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said that all eligible adults will be offered a first Covid vaccine by the autumn but added that the strategy “depends on sufficient and regular supplies of the vaccines being delivered” by the UK Government.
Wales will publish daily vaccine figures from today, which is something the Welsh Conservatives have been calling for.
Mr Davies said: “We are pleased that a vaccine strategy has finally been published by the Welsh Labour-led Government but the failure to appoint a Vaccines Minister to drive this forward will hamper its delivery.
“The plan is late and yet another example of the First Minister’s dither and delay that is holding Wales back and causing unnecessary anxiety and concern for vulnerable people.
“We now need a rapid ramping up of the vaccine delivery in Wales to protect people in all parts of the country, especially given that as of yesterday, around 200,000 doses of the vaccine were sat in fridges instead of in people’s arms.”
He added: “The Welsh Government must now publish daily vaccination figures for each priority group by health board to enable us to measure progress and hold Ministers accountable to the milestones set out today.”
The three milestones set out in the Welsh Government’s plan are:
By mid-February – all care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; everyone over 70 and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable will have been offered vaccination.
By the Spring – vaccination will have been offered to all the other phase one priority groups. This is everyone over 50 and everyone who is at-risk because they have an underlying health condition.
By the autumn – vaccination will have been offered to all other eligible adults in Wales, in line with any guidance issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
In total, around 2.5m people throughout Wales could be offered Covid vaccines by September, depending on further advice from the JCVI.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Covid vaccines offer our best hope of a return to the normality we are looking forward to after such a difficult year, which has turned all our lives upside down.
“Delivering this vaccination programme to the people in Wales is a huge task but an enormous amount of work is going on to make it a success.
“We are making good progress with thousands more people being vaccinated every day.
“Over the coming week we will see the programme pick up further speed with more clinics opening and the first vaccines to be given by pharmacists.”