Welcome to my January newsletter, I hope you all had a restful festive break and Happy New Year to you all. It certainly has been a difficult start to the year with coronavirus cases rising nationally and new restrictions imposed. However, amongst the doom & gloom, there are some rays of hope shining through.
The approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is good news. We must embark upon a national mission to vaccinate our most vulnerable people among us as quickly as possible. As part of this national effort, the NHS is calling for vaccine volunteers to help achieve this aim.
I also welcome the news that the Oxford Vaccine will be made available to developing countries around the world at cost price. We will only properly beat this virus if we beat it together globally.
However, with the government failures on PPE procurement, the outsourced test and trace system, exams and economic support it must not fail on vaccine rollout. Last week in Parliament
I raised concerns about the country's vaccine manufacturing capability and for the Government to release a detailed plan for the vaccination of frontline workers. I also asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock how the Government planned to overcome any language barriers
, to ensure that all communities have access to and understand the importance of being vaccinated.I also joined local radio station, Inspire FM
, to discuss the rollout of the vaccine locally. I made the point that to ensure high uptake of the vaccine, it should be delivered in the local community. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage vaccine delivery by local pharmacies, which are in almost every community across the country, and which have trained staff who could safely administer the jab. The government should work with pharmacists to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.