Vaccination delay could affect ability to lift restrictions says Drakeford
The delay in delivering vaccinations to the UK could have an impact on raising restrictions in Wales, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.
It was confirmed yesterday that Britain’s vaccine rollout has been knocked off course by the delayed arrival of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from India and a need to check 1.7m other doses to ensure their stability.
Drakeford said that Wales’ ability to lift restrictions was tied to the vaccination programme, and the delay in the vaccination programme could have a knock-on effect on Wales ability to lift restrictions.
“We have flexible plans and we’ll adjust them over the coming weeks to make sure we continue to invite people for vaccination in line with the supplies we have,” he said.
“We haven’t lost the doses – we’re going to get them, but a month after when we expected them first.
“When you lose a quarter of a million doses you can’t pretend it doesn’t have any impact at all. They’re coming to us a month later than originally anticipated.
“Our ability to lift restrictions is tied to our vaccination programme. So every three weeks we will look at the evidence and make decisions one step at a time. But where we can we will continue to loosen restrictions.”
He said that the Chief Medical Officer had told him it wasn’t a matter of if there would be a third wave of Covid-19 but when it would arrive and whether they were prepared for it.
“There are new tools available to us like vaccination, and combined with social distancing and handwashing, I hope we would be able to cope with a third wave in a way that wasn’t the case for the second wave in winter,” he said.
“I’ve never come to this podium and said that coronavirus is all over. It’s not responsible to tell people that is a guarantee that anyone could give them.
“But coronavirus has been full of unpleasant surprises. France was doing well a few weeks ago and now finding a sudden and significant flare-up.”
Mark Drakeford said he plans to announce “by the end of next week” whether or not self-contained tourism can re-open on March 27.
The First Minister also reiterated the call of the Health Minister Vaughn Gething and asked people to only watch Wales’ Grand Slam bid with family members.