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Welsh Government fires back at ‘wrong’ Hancock claims about vaccine success: ‘We are simply more efficient’

10 Jun 2021 4 minutes Read
Left, Matt Hancock giving evidence. Right, Mark Drakeford. Picture by Doubledoppler (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Welsh Government have said that Matt Hancock is “wrong” to suggest that Wales has been able to vaccinate at the fastest rate in the world because they could always depend on England’s stock if they ran out.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said that Wales had succeeded due to “excellent planning and the sheer hard work” and were “simply more efficient”.

Matt Hancock made the contested claim while appearing in front of a committee of MPs today to answer questions about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said during giving evidence that Wales could jab people faster as they didn’t have to worry about having a backup supply if they ran out, as they could simply use England’s.

But the Welsh Government rejected that, saying: “The success of our world beating vaccine programme is due to excellent planning and the sheer hard work and dedication of the vaccine teams around Wales.

“It is wrong to suggest we are reliant on an ‘English buffer’ as we hold our own and actually deliver a smaller proportion of vaccine to our centres than other UK nations.

“We are simply more efficient in using our supply with minimal wastage to ensure people in Wales are protected from Covid as quickly as possible.”

‘Very clear’

Matt Hancock was responding to a question by Labour MP Graham Stringer who asked why “Wales, not just in the United Kingdom, but it’s comparable to any country in the world, in terms of the number of vaccinations it’s got out as a percentage”.

“And the conclusion they came to was that they had stopped holding stock and as soon as they got the vaccinations they got them into people’s arms.

“And England, Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t seem to have been doing that – is that not a solution to Greater Manchester and anywhere else that is suffering increased infections.

“That the country stops holding on, that there may be problems in the future, but getting those vaccinations into people’s arms is a good thing?”

Matt Hancock answered to say he was “grinning because I’m working out whether to give you the full answer”.

“Because I very much like my colleagues in Wales and although we’re different parties running – devolved administrations and running the UK Government – there is a very clear answer to why this happened,” he said.

“And because you asked so nicely I’m going to set it out. And then I will phone up my new Welsh opposite number afterward.

“The reason is this: That we need to ensure that whatever happens in terms of security of supply, that there is enough vaccine for people to get their second doses. So we ensure that there is enough of a buffer that we can be confident that people will get their second doses.

“Now, it’s a judgement how big that buffer needs to be. Um, our colleagues in Wales, as you say, decided to hold no such buffer, and go ahead on the presumption that supply would come through.

“But they also knew that if there was an interruption to supply that England’s buffer would be used to ensure that nobody in Wales would miss their second vaccination.

“Now that is not a – that is not a decision I could make for England, because I can’t draw on anybody else’s buffer. So I suppose what this demonstrates is the value of the UK-wide vaccination programme and the fact that we’ve taken a whole of the UK approach benefits everybody including in Wales.

“It enormously benefits everybody living in Scotland because we were able to procure on behalf of the whole United Kingdom. And I would argue that the vaccination programme demonstrates that the union saves lives. And in the case of Wales the Union has helped them to have one of the fastest vaccination programmes in the world. And I wish them every luck in the dellivery of it.”

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Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
1 day ago

This is a man that knew in March 2020 that the hospitals were returning residents to care homes without tests, not to mention the appalling not track not trace testing fronted by Tory crony Dildo Harding and the sheer corruption of the way some contract were awarded, including Hancock’s pub landlord crony. He is responsible for the needless deaths of 10,000s, how dare you say this nonsense when we know full well the English government would have been over the moon if Cymru to have run out of vaccine, we certainly would NOT have received any from England that is… Read more »

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
1 day ago

Dido

Paul
Paul
1 day ago

Many would consider that you had Ms Harding’s forename correct in the first place. Mind you, at least half the population would consider a Dildo to be useful. Unlike Dido.

Bruce
Bruce
1 day ago

I think the first version is more accurate.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
1 day ago

I would not trust Hancock or Boris to make a cup of tea.

defaid
defaid
1 day ago

Wales? Wales doesn’t exist.

Unless… perhaps… as an illustration of how Great England is.

I’ve a vague recollection of a news story from the past year, of vaccine destined for Wales being diverted to England. Could someone confirm for me whether it’s memory or fantasy?

Bruce
Bruce
1 day ago
Reply to  defaid

You might be referring to tests that were supposed to be supplied to the Welsh government (by Roche if I recall) but the contract got hijacked by the English government who then completely failed to supply Wales with enough tests (probably deliberately so they could play politics with the pandemic).

defaid
defaid
1 day ago
Reply to  Bruce

Bruce, thank you. Tests of course. I have the most apallingly sieve-like memory.

Bruce
Bruce
1 day ago

They just can’t bring themselves to admit that the Welsh government have managed this better than the English government.

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