First Minister faces questions on Covid as rates of Omicron variant rise

Vaccine rollout and accessibility top of the agenda at First Minister’s Questions

MARK Drakeford provided an update on the Covid vaccination strategy at First Minister’s Questions today.

The opening question from Vikki Howells MS pressed the First Minister on an update of the current vaccine rollout across Wales.

FM Drakeford said: “NHS Wales has begun the rollout of spring boosters starting with care home residents, along with a first vaccination for five-eleven-year old’s.”

The First Minister also mentioned the rising rates of Covid in Wales in recent weeks and said that these worrying signs could lead to a greater need for beds in Intensive Care Units.

“In the last 10 days we have seen Covid numbers rising and at an accelerating rate,” he said.

Mark Drakeford took questions on Tuesday afternoon.

The First Minister put the rising case rates down to the emergence of a variant of Omicron.

“The most significant reason is the rise of BA2 variation of Omicron which is even more transmissible then the BA1 variant,” he said.

Russell George MS asked the First Minister when people outside of the previously mentioned age groups will be able to receive their booster jabs.

Mr George said: “Those people who are not in those categories will want to know when they can get their fourth jab.”

In response, Mr Drakeford claimed that in the next three weeks the bulk of care home residents will have received the fourth vaccination and at that time they will start to press on with the rest of the population.

The First Minister was also challenged on the accessibility issues facing many people without a car or access to public transport in trying to get their vaccinations.

“For those people without access to transport, the Vaxi Taxi scheme, operated by Age Connect will be available to make sure that people who are otherwise unable to, can get that much needed vaccination,” said FM Drakeford.