In his role of Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi responds to MPs’ questions to the Department for Health and Social Care.
Feilding Palmer Hospital
Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) (Con)
If he will take steps to ensure that Feilding Palmer Community Hospital in Lutterworth is reopened as a covid-19 vaccination centre. (910589)
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Nadhim Zahawi)
Across the United Kingdom we have more than 2,700 vaccination sites up and running, with seven vaccination centres opening this week and more to come next week and the week after. Regarding the question about Feilding Palmer hospital that my hon. Friend has raised, I can confirm that this site is now being actively considered as a vaccination hub.
Alberto Costa [V]
I thank the Minister and his team for the help that they gave me and my team in cajoling, pushing and encouraging the clinical commissioning group to reopen the Feilding Palmer hospital in Lutterworth as a vaccination centre; that is excellent news for the people of Lutterworth and the surrounding villages.
Will the Minister also confirm that the remaining parts of south Leicestershire, from Broughton Astley to Braunstone, from Thorpe Astley to Arnesby, will also be able to access vaccination centres locally?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend not just for his characteristic support and encouragement, but for his championing of his constituents. I can confirm, as the Secretary of State has said, that all his constituents will be no more than 10 miles away from a vaccination centre, and I am pleased that the Sturdee Road health and wellbeing centre, which is a little over 10 miles away from Lutterworth, is administering vaccines now.
Covid-19: Vaccine Roll-out and Relaxation of Restrictions
Mr Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con)
What progress his Department has made on establishing the extent of roll-out of the covid-19 vaccine required to enable relaxation of covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement. [R] (910596)
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Nadhim Zahawi)
The vaccines are without a doubt the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began—a huge step forward in our fight against coronavirus—and, testament to the Secretary of State’s laser-like focus on vaccines, we are here today with 2.4 million doses administered and rising. However, the full impact of covid-19 vaccinations on infection rates will not be clear until a larger number of people have been vaccinated.
Mr Steve Baker [V]
I am very pleased to welcome the announcement of a vaccination site at Adams Park in Wycombe, with further sites to be announced shortly. My hon. Friend has told us that when the top four JCVI groups have been vaccinated, that will account for 88% of potential fatalities, so can he not very soon give people a sure and not-too-distant hope that their freedoms will be returned as the vaccination programme rolls forward?
I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s continued support, not least in making sure that he examines the data very carefully, which I know he is passionate about. He is absolutely right that 88% of mortality effectively comes from the top four most vulnerable cohorts in the JCVI’s list of nine, and 99% comes from those top nine most vulnerable cohorts.
On that point in time—that point of inflection between community spread and vaccination—I will quote the deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, who said, “Ask me in a few weeks’ or a few months’ time if it does obviously impact on spread.” The scientists are hopeful, as are we, and as is the Prime Minister—not least because he wants to see the back of these non-pharmaceutical interventions in the economy.