Vaccine-resistant Covid variant more likely if people of Wales allow virus to spread widely, Drakeford warns
The First Minister has said that it is important that the people of Wales continue to take steps to stop the spread of Covid even as the vaccine weakens the link between the virus and hospitalisation.
Mark Drakeford said that a vaccine-resistant Covid variant was much more likely to develop if the virus spread widely within the community.
He said that a shift in just 2-3% in the effectiveness of the vaccine was the difference between the NHS being able to cope with the virus or not.
“If people act as if Covid has gone away, that will drive more people into the hospital,” he said. “We will be back where we were in the winter with a large number of people needing treatment.
“If we were in the very unhappy position where a further variant came in that affected the effectiveness of the vaccine we would have to bring new measures in.”
He was speaking in the Senedd as it was announced that Wales would lift many restrictions on Saturday, including allowing up to six people to meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation and organised indoor events to take place for up to 1,000 seated.
People will no longer need to wear masks in hospitality or education settings, he added.
Mark Drakeford said that Test and Trace would from now on “warn and inform” those who had been double vaccinated and in contact with those who had tested positive rather than telling them to self-isolate.
“It will take some weeks,” he said. “People will have to be retrained, and the TTP system will need access to a record of someone being vaccinated.
“For this to have the public confidence there needs to be more to it than asking people whether they have been double vaccinated.”