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Covid-19: Scientific Evidence Base for Government Response

Volume 687: debated on Tuesday 12 January 2021

What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the scientific evidence base underpinning the Government’s response to the covid-19 outbreak. (910593)

The Government’s response to the pandemic has been informed by a considerable range of expert scientific and medical advice, and we have seen an increasing understanding of coronavirus globally. The UK has produced new scientific evidence throughout the pandemic. When we take decisions, they are based on and guided by the best possible science, but of course policy decisions are for Ministers.

Regarding the stats and science on the island, our vaccine hub at the Riverside centre is expected to be ready on 15 July. We may not receive sign-off and vaccines for that centre until 25 July or later. Given rising infections on the island, our demographic profile and our isolation, I am concerned we are not high enough on the vaccine supply list, despite the great work being done by the Isle of Wight-Hampshire team. I have written to the Secretary of State and the vaccine Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi), about this. What can be done to improve the situation, and what reassurance can the Secretary of State give me about the focus on the Isle of Wight?

We will absolutely have vaccines being delivered on the Isle of Wight before 15 July—indeed, we will have them there before 15 February. We are committed to offering a vaccine to all those in the four highest priority cohorts, which includes all over-70s, and there are a lot of over-70s on the Isle of Wight. Furthermore, we will make sure that there are vaccination centres within 10 miles of where everyone lives. Vaccinations are happening on the Isle of Wight right now. My hon. Friend is a great champion of the Island, and we will make sure that that delivery continues apace.