Westminster shouldn’t stand in the way of Wales from buying its own covid vaccines according to Plaid Cymru.
The party’s health spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS says he’s worried that Wales might not receive enough doses of the jab under the system that is currently in place.
The UK Government is in control of buying vaccines and says it has secured five million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. The firm announced on Monday that its jab may be 94.5 per cent effective against Covid-19. It has also secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The UK Government has decided that Wales will receive its population share of 4.78 per cent under what is called the Barnett formula. The Welsh Government has backed this approach.
The formula automatically adjusts the amount of public money allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales based on what is spent in England.
But Plaid Cymru believe that this is unfair to Wales because it has an older and sicker population than the rest the rest of the UK’s four nations.
Mr ap Iorwerth told the PA news agency: “If we’re being told we’re going to get a population share, well that doesn’t really make sense. We have an older population. A strict population share isn’t really going to work for Wales.
“So, it’s so we’re being told, everything is going to be okay, and I think I should be forgiven for not quite trusting that at face value.”
“I just couldn’t see the harm in Wales trying to procure this Moderna vaccine given that the UK central procurers decided ‘no, we’re not going to bother’.
“I’ve got nothing against cooperation between the nations of the UK. If there’s an agreement that can make sure there’s a basic level of a vaccine that can be secured in a particular way, as there would have been with PPE, fine. And if that works and that delivers a vaccine that’s great.
“But I can’t see why that should preclude Scotland, or England or Wales, being able to come to agreement ourselves as well, especially in this kind of context – when the UK decided we’re not chasing this one up. Wales could have been.
“By now on Moderna, it’s probably the case that the UK is going to be doing the bidding on our behalf, so maybe we’ve missed that boat. We might end up with a decent supply of Moderna, but we might not.
“Throughout all of this, I just feel the Welsh Government has been at its best when it’s been trying to exert as much control over its ability to respond to the pandemic as possible. And it has tripped up most often when it’s decided to throw its lot in with a four-nations approach.”
The Welsh Government says it believes that Wales will get its fair share of the vaccine under the current system.
A spokesperson said: “Wales, along with the other UK nations, is part of the UK Government’s advanced procurement of a number of promising vaccines and we will get a share of any successful vaccine. Purchasing in this way is the best way to ensure we got the most possible doses of future vaccines.”