I would like to make three brief points.
First, vaccination is undoubtedly a significant and great success story, and I thank all involved nationally and on the Island. On the Island we have vaccinated well over 10,000—probably about 12,000—people so far, so it is under way. Four sites are vaccinating at the moment: Carisbrooke, the Bay practice, Westridge, and doctors and nurses working out of the West Wight sports and community centre in Freshwater, as well as the hospital. I do however have a slight concern, on which I would be grateful to get a direct answer from the Minister—I have written to the Secretary of State and to the vaccine Minister, my hon. Friend Nadhim Zahawi. The vaccine hub at the Riverside centre in Newport is expected to be ready on
Secondly, may we have a medium-term outline of what lies ahead? Businesses need clarity; people, especially in the hospitality sector on the Island and the festival sector need to be able to plan and to know if they can reopen in April or May or later in the summer.
We know that, sadly, 50% of deaths are among the over-80s, and 88%, nearly 90%, of deaths are in the top four at-risk categories. If those good folks are all vaccinated on time, taking into account the three-week period afterwards that it takes for the vaccine to become live, by early March we should be clear of nearly 90% of deaths. That then raises the question of whether we will be coming out of lockdown at that point, or will the Government then say it is not about mortality but about prevalence of covid? We need clarity and a decision on this as soon as possible.
Finally, and related to that, the Isle of Wight is Britain’s festival island, and the Government need to think about support for festivals because they are planning already; their decisions are being made in the next few weeks and help for that sector would be gratefully received.