Welsh Tory MP asks UK Government to help ‘slower’ Wales roll out booster jabs
A Conservative MP has called on the UK Government to help Wales roll out booster jabs, saying that the Welsh Government have been “slower” to do so.
Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns made the claim despite yesterday’s latest figures suggesting that Wales only lagged England by only 0.1% in terms of booster jabs for eligible adults – by 40.7% to 40.8%.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Alun Cairns asked the Health Secretary Sajid Javid if the UK Government could share their “expertise and capacity” with Wales.
“I pay tribute to my right honourable friend for the speed and efficiency with which he, the Government and the NHS are rolling out the booster programme,” Alun Cairns said.
“Does he share my concern that the roll-out of the programme is somewhat slower in Wales? There is no access to walk-in centres, no online booking system and the local health boards are depending on Royal Mail when the postal system is under the greatest pressure because of Christmas and because of staff off with covid.
“Will he agree to share the expertise and capacity that the UK Government have built up in the most positive way with the devolved Administrations—specifically with the Welsh Government —so that my constituents can receive the same access as his?”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that he would give “more support” to Wales.
“I very much agree: the omicron emergency is UK-wide and all parts of the UK should respond by increasing whatever they are doing on the booster programme further,” he said.
“I think that that view is shared throughout the UK. We will provide more support to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to make sure that they can increase their booster programmes.”
Yesterday, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said that Wales would aim to offer all eligible adults a booster by the end of December – the same target as England.
“New clinics have been opened and operating hours extended,” he said. “Urgent efforts are now underway to accelerate the programme even further so we can offer all eligible adults an appointment by the end of this year if possible.
“Please make getting a booster a priority, as it is the single of the most important things you can do to protect yourself against coronavirus and this new variant.”
In his address on Sunday, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Wales will get “additional support to accelerate vaccinations” as he brought England’s target to vaccinate all over-18s with a booster jab forward a month to the New Year.
Boris Johnson declared an “Omicron emergency” which would be matched by an “Omicron Emergency Booster National Mission”.
“We’ve spoken today to the devolved administrations to confirm that the UK Government will provide additional support to accelerate vaccinations in Scotland, Wales and Northen Ireland,” he said.
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