Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:25 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Imran Ahmad Khan Imran Ahmad Khan Conservative, Wakefield 5:25 pm, 12th January 2021

I thank the Prime Minister and the Minister for Vaccine Deployment for the efficacious enthusiasm that hallmarks their sterling work in establishing more than 1,400 inoculation centres and ensuring that the most vulnerable will all be able to receive a vaccine soon. It is this United Kingdom’s Conservative Government’s splendid foresight in securing vaccines months ago, far in advance of certification and roll-out, that has made the UK the leading country for vaccinations in all Europe. I welcome the establishment of the large-scale covid vaccination centre that will shortly open in Wakefield.

I commend the Government’s great ambition to ensure that the lives, livings and liberties of the British people will be swiftly returned. While we are on track to vaccinate all care home residents by the end of January, and everyone over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable by mid-February, the challenges we face and the hazards that covid-19 present require us to ever widen our ambition. Furlough and the numerous emergency schemes implemented by the Government both support taxpayers and cost them billions of pounds every month. The nation’s rapid and effective inoculation is the only way these fearsome costs will be tamed and our lamented routine returned. It is therefore imperative that everything is done to ensure that everyone receives the vaccine as early as possible. At this critical stage in the battle against covid, we must set ever more ambitious objectives and incentivise our dynamic private sector to capture them, rather than simply accepting prevailing limitations.

The financial and human cost of the pandemic justifies and demands a warlike effort in retaliation. The Adam Smith Institute recently released a report on how to effectively accelerate the UK’s covid-19 vaccination programme. Providing a 24/7 vaccination service is one such proposal. Other recommendations include commissioning pharmacies to provide vaccine services, allowing walk-in services for spare appointments and doses and simplifying the recruitment process to maximise the number of volunteers in the UK’s jab army. West Yorkshire alone has more than 540 community pharmacies with staff trained in giving vaccinations.

I wholeheartedly agree with our Prime Minister and Health Secretary, who both declared that our best route out of lockdown is through mass inoculation. That being right and true demands that our national strategy be one that strains every sinew and effectively leverages and employs every conceivable mechanism that it can to increase, improve and bolster the United Kingdom’s vaccination campaign.