Covid-19: Vaccinations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:27 pm on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 5:27 pm, 11th January 2021

The hon. Lady asks an important question. In any manufacturing process—especially a new one—it is always lumpier at the beginning, and there are more challenges. There are a number of tests done by both the manufacturer and the regulator; the batch testing at the end of the process is done by the regulator, to make sure that the batches meet the very high standards that we have in the United Kingdom. That will begin to become much smoother and stabilise, and we have a clear line of sight through to the end of February, hence why we are confident that we can meet the target of offering a vaccine to the top four most vulnerable cohorts on the list of nine from the JCVI by the middle of February.

We thank the hon. Lady’s local GPs, but it is important for them to remember that the central team that is doing the distribution is running at about 98.5% accuracy at the moment, which means that 1.5% of deliveries are not as we would like them to be. We will get better at that. As Brigadier Prosser said, this is like standing up a supermarket chain in a month and then growing it by 20% every couple of weeks. It will get better. The focus of the central team is to try to give primary care networks —GPs like hers—as much time and notice as possible, so that they can plan ahead and get the four cohorts in for their jabs. It is always difficult at the outset, but it gets better by the day and will do in the weeks ahead.