Covid-19

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:03 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of William Wragg William Wragg Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee 5:03 pm, 12th January 2021

The Minister ordinarily has a rather pessimistic speech inflicted on her when I rise in the House, but today I want to strike a different tone, because the whole country can now see that we have a moment of opportunity, a moment of hope and a route out of these persistent lockdowns. I can report that in Stockport, my home town and the borough of my constituency, all the over-80s and care home residents will have received at least their first jab by this Friday. I am grateful that Stockport has honoured the commitment that was given to those who received their first jab that they would receive their second one. I know that there is considerable public debate about that, but that was quite helpful in allaying some of their concerns. Good progress is indeed being made with the roll-out of vaccination. I pay particular tribute to those at Stepping Hill Hospital and the many GP practices across my constituency. Indeed, in Greater Manchester, that has recently been augmented by the vaccine centre at the tennis centre. I particularly mention on this one occasion my mum, who has come out of retirement to help with vaccines at that centre.

May I briefly ask the Minister about matters around data, particularly the need to update and clarify explanatory notes on the dashboard for vaccination statistics? It would be helpful to have a breakdown of data on those who have been vaccinated according to the nine priority groups of vulnerable people, with running percentages on progress made. Indeed, we could provide local breakdowns of data, perhaps to inculcate a sense of civic pride if not competition, and the need to make further progress. Most seriously, that could highlight problem areas so that extra focus can be given and extra resource made available.

I echo calls not for a timetable of how we can ease lockdown but, rather, milestones—the course of the virus does not follow a timetable. At least having measurable progress, with milestones reached, would allow people to stick with the impositions of lockdown, allow businesses to plan, and keep the Government’s feet to the fire, showing that their singular focus is on the roll-out of the vaccine. I hope that those words of encouragement will meet with the approval of my hon. Friend the Minister.