POLITICIANS have given their thoughts after the Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca was approved for use in the UK.
The jab, which has been described as a “game changer”, was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, said the approval was “incredible news”.
He added: “To receive this incredible news at the end of what has been a difficult year for us all is absolutely fantastic. It will enable us all to enter the 2021 with fresh hope for better times.
“The UK Government invested over £88 million into the development of the vaccine and is making sure it is made available for free across the UK on an equitable basis. It will play a major role in turning the tide of the pandemic, ensuring that more people can be protected from a virus which has dominated all our lives for so long.
“With Wales currently lagging behind in administering the Pfizer vaccine, it is absolutely crucial that the Welsh Government steps up to mark now to ensure that both vaccines are rolled out across Wales at speed..”
Ann Jones, MS for Vale of Clwyd, said: “This is truly welcome news to end what has been a very grave and worrying year.
“The Welsh Government’s health minister, Vaughan Gething, has confirmed that the vaccine will be rolled out across Wales as early as next week. I’m particularly proud that a significant part of the vaccine is manufactured right here in North Wales.
“The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to transport, store and administer and it’s just the ray of hope that we have all been waiting for.
“Those who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted directly and I’d encourage people not to contact their local GP surgery or hospital and add to already high level of demand.”
Darren Millar, MS for Clwyd West, was also optimistic.
Undated handout photo issued by the University of Oxford of a researcher in a laboratory at the Jenner Institute, working on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine, which has been described as a “game changer”, has now been approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Picture: John Cairns/University of Oxford/PA Wire
He said: “This new vaccine, which is being manufactured in Wrexham, offers real hope to people across North Wales, the UK and the wider world.
“The Oxford vaccine is much easy to transport and store than others and this makes the rollout of the vaccine much easier than the previously approved Pfizer vaccine.
“’The Welsh Government must now ramp up the vaccine rollout and ensure that those at highest risk of harm from COVID-19 are able to access it as soon as possible.”
David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, also declare the approval as “excellent” for the entire country.
“It has been shown to be highly effective, whilst being significantly cheaper and easier to store and transport than the Pfizer vaccine that has already been approved,” he added.
“The Government has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is vital that it should be rolled out across the country as quickly as possible.
“In Wales, the Welsh Government must step up the speed of vaccination, which is lagging behind the rest of the country. Health care workers and residents of care homes, of which there are many in Clwyd West, should be first in line.
“The vaccine could well prove to be a game-changer in the response to the pandemic, offering the hope of a return to normality in 2021.”
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people. Picture: John Cairns/University of Oxford/PA Wire
Robin Millar, MP for Aberconwy, said: “The O-AZ vaccine is easier to transport, store and handle so the Welsh government must make sure there is now no delay in vaccinating our oldest and most vulnerable residents here in Aberconwy, early in January.
“This year we have seen terrible loss and damage. But as we go into 2021 these vaccines give us all a bit more hope we will soon be able to live, work and play the way we have done before.”
Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy, said: “The positive news and approval of this vaccine will become a real game changer in the faster roll out of the vaccine process across Wales. Particularly so in North Wales where there is a lot of doubt and confusion as to when those considered to be of the highest priority might indeed receive any vaccination.
“I very much look forward to seeing these vaccinations rolled out and at the very earliest opportunity.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health, said: “It is very good news that the Oxford vaccine has received approval, but we now need assurances from Welsh Government about its effective roll-out in Wales. The right infrastructure must be in place for a rapid-roll out, especially to the most vulnerable.
“Wales has been behind every other UK nation in terms of numbers vaccinated, and this needs to be addressed with urgency.”
Councillor Llinos Medi, Anglesey Council Leader, said: “News that this vaccine has been approved for use in the UK is another positive step forward in the national effort to protect our communities from Coronavirus and stem its spread.
“We are working with our colleagues at Betsi Cadwaladr and our GPs to ensure local vaccination on Anglesey is effective, accessible, and timely.
“The vaccine rollout will, of course, take time and those eligible will be contacted by health providers in due course. In the meantime, as the number of Coronavirus cases on Anglesey continue to rise, I would urge residents to remember that Wales is still in Alert Level 4 and we must all play our part to keep ourselves, family, friends and communities safe.”
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted: “Very pleased that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been given the go-ahead.
“Over 25,000 vaccines have already been administered in Wales and this second vaccine will start to be rolled out here in the New Year.”
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “We understand there are high expectations and excitement at the arrival of a second vaccine. However it will take time to reach everyone as this is not an instant fix. We won’t receive all the doses at once and we have to be realistic about the scale and pace of delivery when we are vaccinating the entire adult population.
“We will not see the impact of the vaccine for some months and the pressure on the NHS will continue during this winter. It is essential that we all continue to play our part and do the right thing to protect each other.
“Nobody will be left behind by our NHS. To help the NHS to help you please wait to be invited for your vaccination.”