The Government have secured early access to 457 million vaccine doses through agreements with eight separate vaccine developers. I assure the House that the Government are in constant contact with the vaccine manufacturers, and remain confident that we are on track to offer a vaccine to all priority cohorts by mid-April.
People like my constituent, Ken, in Dudley South have seen the European Commission threatening to ban vaccine exports to the UK, and are worried about whether they will be able to get their second dose. What assurances can my hon. Friend give to Ken and others like him that they will be able to get a second dose of the same vaccine within the specified time schedule?
The vaccine taskforce—I pay tribute to Kate Bingham and Clive Dix, and to the brilliant civil servants who do the heavy lifting—has conducted a supply chain risk assessment and continues to monitor requirements across the supply chain, from supplier through to patient. We are in constant contact with the suppliers. The NHS is already reserving second doses. Last week, we began informing the frontline—primary care networks and others—of the second dose schedule. I can reassure my hon. Friend’s constituents that if they have had a Pfizer first dose, they will get a Pfizer second dose within the 12 weeks; and if they have had an Oxford first dose, they will get an Oxford second dose within the 12 weeks.
Will my hon. Friend confirm that Wales has been provided with enough supplies of vaccines to hit the targets set by the UK Government, particularly the 31 July target? Does he agree that, had we joined the EU’s vaccine procurement programme, immunisations in Wales would be much further behind right now?
We are working very closely with the Welsh Government and the other devolved Administrations to ensure that vaccines are allocated as per the Barnett formula. The Secretary of State has quite rightly reassured all the devolved Administrations that they will receive the vaccines to be able to deliver on the targets that we have set. It is great to see that over 860,000 people have received their first dose in Wales. The pace of our vaccination programme means that we have administered more vaccines than any other European country.