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 Fairfax of Cameron Lord Fairfax of Cameron Conservative 1:47 pm, 13th January 2021

My Lords, I would like to ask my noble friend the Minister two questions, if I may. Like many others, I first congratulate him and the Government on the progress made so far with the vaccination programme. But what plans do they have to further turbo-charge the vaccine deployment programme? I am, of course, thinking of a 24/7 vaccine centre, as many others have referred to already. Reference has also been made to Israel’s much greater progress, so far. But is the Minister aware of the comment of the highly respected Professor Bell of Oxford, who said that we could vaccinate the whole country “in five days” if we had the will, subject, of course, to supplies of the vaccine? Professor Bell went on to say that this vaccine rollout is a “war” and should be treated as such by the Government. Therefore—in my respectful submission—to refer to consumer demand is not necessarily consistent with that status of war. On my second question, the Government have said that they expect all nine high-risk groups to be vaccinated “by the spring”. Can the Minister tell us what exactly the Government mean by the spring—in other words, months and days or dates?