Covid-19: Vaccinations - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:47 pm on 13th January 2021.

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Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 1:47 pm, 13th January 2021

My Lords, I am enormously grateful for my noble friend’s kind words. I think that, as a Government, we would prefer to be judged at the third act of this important performance, so I think it is probably too early to take too much praise, but I would like to say a massive thanks to the British nation.

In three ways, the nation has really stood up. The amount of collaboration between different groups—I alluded to it in my previous answer—between the Army, industry, the NHS and local authorities has been enormous. At the beginning of this pandemic, there were arthritic elements to the way in which Britain is governed that meant that different parts of our political and administrative machinery did grind into action slightly slowly, but, my goodness, over the vaccine deployment it has been absolutely athletic, and I take my hat off to every part of the machinery of government. On the union, this has been such a strong example of a national solution: all of Britain has come together in order to purchase and deploy the vaccine. Lastly, I would observe the resilience of the British public. It makes me enormously proud that the country puts the elderly and the infirm first and stands by and celebrates the weakest and most vulnerable in our society being put first in the queue. That is a national quality we should all be proud of.