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‘Terrifying’: Health Minister criticised after saying he wasn’t ruling out ‘mandatory’ Covid-19 vaccination

22 Sep 2020 3 minute read
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething. Photo by Ymnes is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Health Minister Vaughan Gething has been criticised after saying that he “wasn’t ruling out” a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking on last night’s Sharp End on ITV Cymru Wales, he said that “he wouldn’t rule out anything at this point but mandation is the most extreme end and the most unlikely”.

“But I don’t think it’s sensible for any politician to rule out possible options because we can’t tell where we’re going to be in a month let alone six months or a year so all options are available to the Government.”

His comments were criticised by the Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Spokesperson Andrew RT Davies who said that it was “a dangerous road to go down and one which I would not consider in his position”.

His colleague, Senedd Member Angela Burns added that if health professionals were not mandated to have the flu vaccine, the public should not have to take the Covid-19 vaccine should one become available.

“When discussing winter pressures, the high staff absence rate and low flu vaccine take up I have asked Vaughan Gething if the flu vaccine should be mandated for health professionals,” she said.

“Its always been a resolute No. Flu is a killer. What’s the difference?”

Gwynedd GP Eilir Hughes said that the suggestion that the vaccine should be made mandatory was “terrifying”.

“I will not vaccinate anyone without their consent,” he said.

“I am confident in my ability to reason with people about the benefits of a vaccine. The sort of rhetoric displayed in that clip further fuels the public’s suspicions. It’s an own goal.”


‘Certain groups’

England’s scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said yesterday it was possible that small amounts of vaccine could be made available to certain groups of people by the end of the year.

He said that there was “good progress being made” on developing a vaccine, adding: “Many vaccines now have shown they generate an immune response of a type that ought to be protective.

“We don’t yet know they will work but there is increasing evidence that is pointing in the right direction and it is possible that some vaccine could be available before the end of the year in small amounts for certain groups.

“It is much more likely that we’ll see vaccines becoming available over the first half of next year, again not certain but pointed in the right direction, which then, of course, gives the possibility of a different approach to this virus.”

The UK Government has suggested that if a vaccine becomes available before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December and it has not been approved by the European medicines watchdog, the UK would use its own emergency regulations to sidestep EU law to allow the jab to be deployed.

Human trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine are facing delays after a participant suffered a rare neurological condition.

The decision to pause the trials in early September was made after a previously healthy 37-year-old woman who had received two doses developed transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that can cause paralysis.

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