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‘Maximum transparency’ call on delay of Covid-19 vaccines to Wales as AstraZeneca deny shortage

18 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
Picture by the Welsh Government.

Plaid Cymru have called for “maximum transparency” over how many vaccines Wales receives after the UK Government warned of a shortage.

Yesterday NHS England sent a letter to vaccination centres warning there will be a “significant reduction” in supplies next month. Jab sites in England have now been ordered to stop vaccinating people under 50 during April.

The Welsh Government have also now said that vaccine supplies that were due to arrive in Wales by mid-April will be delivered up to four weeks late, but have not confirmed how it will impact current vaccination plans.

However drugs giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca have rejected an NHS claim that the UK is facing a COVID-19 vaccine shortage, insisting there is no threat to supplies.

AstraZeneca said they were “not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule”.

The number of vaccine supplies distributed to Wales is decided by the UK Government and has been based on population numbers.

‘Later’

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, said that the reasons behind the delay needed to be made clear.

“As I’ve done throughout, I’m calling for maximum transparency,” he said. “Suggestions of supply disruptions underlines the need for a full and open flow of information about the extent of any delay and the reasons behind it.

“I’ve called time and time again for the publication of data on how many of each type of vaccine has been, and is being distributed to each UK nation. It’s very important, not least in providing reassurance that there is sufficient supply for second doses to be distributed in a timely manner.

“So I ask again, when will this data be made publicly available, so that we can all have confidence that distribution is as fast and fair as possible for all?”

A spokesman for the Welsh government said: “We are able to offer vaccinations to as many people in Wales as supply allows. If we have more we could do more.

“We have been informed by the Vaccine Task Force that additional supplies of vaccine, which we were expecting to arrive in the UK before mid-April will now be delivered up to four weeks later than originally planned.

“Significant supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to vaccination centres and GPs last week and additional supplies are being delivered this week.”

‘No impact’

In a statement, Pfizer said: “We have an agreement with the government to supply 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the UK by the end of the year.

“While the details of this agreement are confidential, we can confirm that Q1 deliveries remain on track and continue to progress in line with the monthly schedule, agreed in advance with the Vaccines Taskforce.”

And AstraZeneca said in a statement: “Our UK domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule.”

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