IN an open letter to the Health Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, health spokesperson for Plaid Cymru, has called for greater clarity on the vaccine deployment programme, in order to build public trust.
While the deployment of the vaccine offers real hope, Mr ap Iorwerth raises “real concerns” over the pace, transparency and communications of the programme, and says that the public “simply want to know when they might expect the vaccine.”
Mr ap Iorwerth calls for a dashboard of information that would allow the public to track progress for themselves, including volume of doses delivered and administered by health board and by priority group. He said it would “go far” in helping to restore public trust.
Mr ap Iorwerth also asks for clarity on whether the Welsh Immunisation System is currently able to perform the tasks it was designed to do, including creating appointments, sending letters and automatically scheduling second doses.
Using examples of international good practice, Mr ap Iorwerth asks whether the Health Minister would consider measures such as:
· Vaccination centres open 7 days a week
· Widespread availability of drive-through style vaccination centres
· Reducing wastage by allowing prepared vaccines to be given on a ‘first come first served’ basis at the end of the day.
Shadow Minister for Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“There are real concerns about the vaccine deployment programme, not least regarding the pace, transparency and communications during these initial stages. People simply want to know when they might expect the vaccine.
“Setting out targets in Welsh Government’s vaccination plan, and including a dashboard of information which answers questions around how the numbers of doses by health board and priority group, will go far in helping to build public trust, as they will be able to track progress for themselves.
“We have a short period of weeks before the damage of strict conditions, in particular school closures, become even more significant. We also currently have a virus infecting more people every week than are receiving the vaccine. Expanding the pace and scale of vaccination is thus essential, as is restoring public confidence that governments have a plan for winning this battle against the virus.”