Live coronavirus updates as health minister Vaughan Gething leads Welsh Government briefing – WalesOnline

Health minister Vaughan Gething is to lead the Welsh Government coronavirus briefing today (January 20).

You can follow along here for live updates from 12.15pm.

It comes as Wales continues to lag behind the rest of the UK in its delivery of coronavirus vaccines.

As of January 18, Wales had given first vaccine doses to 5.1% of it population. This compared to 7% of the population in Northern Ireland, 6.55% in England and 5.2% in Scotland.

At the end of last week, Mr Gething acknowledged that Wales was lagging “slightly” behind but said “we are making real progress” and “the differences are relatively small”.

Mr Gething said the reason for the lag was “because of the troubles we had deploying enough of the Pfizer vaccine”, which needs to be stored at very low temperatures. He added: “I think those logistical challenges are largely behind us.

He said a “really rapid increase” was on the horizon in vaccination numbers was on the horizon thanks to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. You can read more about that here.

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In Tuesday’s Plenary session Mr Gething said he expected seven in 10 care home residents and staff and seven in 10 over-80s in Wales would be protected with their first shot by the end of this week, and that by the middle of February Wales “should be in same place as other UK nations”.

But the Welsh Government has come under fire for thousands of doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine it has received that have not been used yet.

The First Minister said additional supplies aren’t due until the end of January or beginning on February, so existing doses needed to be stretched over six weeks to prevent “vaccinators standing around with nothing to do for another month.”

Mr Gething has since claimed that the Welsh Government’s strategy is not the same as holding back vaccines, and said on Tuesday: “As long as the supply comes in we’ll deliver those vaccines.”

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