Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Today I have published an Update to our National Vaccination Strategy. We published our Strategy on 11 January. Whilst only 6 weeks ago, a huge amount has happened since then. Our programme has gone from strength to strength. More than 900,000 people in Wales – many of whom are amongst the most vulnerable to poor outcomes should they become infected with Coronavirus – have now received their first dose of the lifesaving vaccines. Second doses, which are important for longer term protection, are also beginning to be rolled out, with more than 80,000 people having now received their full course of vaccine.
I am pleased to confirm that we have brought forward two key target dates within our programme. We are now aiming to offer the vaccine to all current priority groups by the middle of April and to the wider adult population by the end of July. I must be very clear though that these aims are heavily based on vaccine supply, which continues to be the limiting factor. It is encouraging that the UK Government has brought forward some of Wales’ supply allocation, but from the information available to us at this point there are concerns with both the type of supply and the timing of its delivery. We have always said that we could go faster were the supply available. I hope that the UK Government is able to stand behind its commitments to enable the speeding up of our programme.
The Update to our Strategy reflects on some of the achievements of our programme to-date, 12 weeks since we started vaccinating, and sets out more information about our current and forthcoming priorities. It also confirms our intention – in line with the other UK nations – to follow the interim advice on prioritisation for phase 2 of the programme that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has issued today.
Furthermore, the Update provides information on the significant and really encouraging evidence that is beginning to emerge around vaccination. While we must still be careful and cautious, there really does appear to be much cause for hope attached to the success of our vaccination programme.