6. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care: National Immunisation Framework for Wales

Part of the debate – in the Senedd at 5:07 pm on 21 May 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Mair Eluned Morgan Baroness Mair Eluned Morgan Labour 5:07, 21 May 2024

Diolch yn fawr, Mabon. You're quite right, I think misinformation is something we should all be very worried about and having people being able to have access to secure advice where they can have assurance is important. That's why I think Public Health Wales has a really key role to play here, and obviously the JCVI as well. You're quite right that vaccine hesitancy, in particular in relation to MMR—what happened is that we know there was a blip when there was all that misinformation a few years ago, so there's a cohort of children that we're particularly worried about, and we would ask them to come forward, or at least to check their records just to make sure that they are covered, because it's not something that you want to get, and we are seeing these increasing cases. We've got cases—. We've seen cases in Aneurin Bevan, in Cardiff, and also now we've had a single case in north Wales.

You asked about cross-departmental work. Well, obviously, the vaccination is a school programme, so obviously there is a lot of work happening with education already.

In relation to broadcasting and whether a centralised and a Welsh controlled broadcasting authority, in some way, would be able to manage this, I mean, I think that's quite difficult because young people, for example, a lot of them, get their information from TikTok. Well, good luck if you think you're going to control TikTok. So, I just think we've got to be realistic about where we're able to influence.

Just in relation to your question on digital infrastructure, the national immunisation framework, it did set out an ambition to develop the digital infrastructure that's needed, and the whole point was that that was supposed to be a system that works for practitioners and patients. So, Digital Health and Care Wales was commissioned to review all the vaccination systems, to conduct a technical, digital discovery, and to provide options that would enable us to realise these ambitions. Now, what I can tell you is that that work has been concluded by DHCW and they've provided options for implementation of a programme of digital vaccination transformation. So, we're considering these options, and I am currently waiting for the advice on that. So, I think the digital changes do offer that opportunity that you were talking about—a single source of truth, that's what we'd like to see—and a complete and accurate vaccination record. I don't know about you, but if you ever try and go abroad, you have to try and find your vaccination record. It's always a trouble. We need to get modern. We need to get a digital system. So, I think no more paper vaccination records—that's where we need to get to. We're on course to move on towards that, and I'm just about to receive some advice on that. Diolch yn fawr.