Rother Valley MP proud that Britain leads the world on Covid vaccinations

In my Christmas column, I heralded the beginning of Britain’s trailblazing vaccination programme in the Rotherham and Sheffield areas.

By Alexander Stafford
Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 8:48 am

Less than a month later, the progress has been simply staggering.

The Government has already announced that it is moving on to the next phase of the rollout, offering jabs to the next two priority groups: people over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

I could not have hoped for a more promising start to 2021.

Alexander Stafford says Britain's progress on rolling out the Covid vaccine has been 'staggering'. Photo: London Portrait Photographer-DAV

We have always known that a vaccine is the only way out of this pandemic, and I am not at all surprised that the UK has responded with the best vaccine rollout of anywhere in the world.

Readers will know that Europe’s attempts at vaccine deployment have been woefully inadequate, with the EU being responsible for buying vaccines on behalf of all member states and each country receiving a set number of vaccines by way of a predetermined allocation.

Procurement of vaccines has been slow, approval by the EU regulator has been slow, and rollout has been glacially slow.

Reports of internal bickering between members and media outrage in Germany and Holland over their tardy immunisation programmes paints a picture of chaos and discord.

By contrast, the UK is on a vaccine war footing.

Our procurement has been peerless, our regulatory approval has been thorough and swift, and our rollout has been efficient and professional.

It is at times like this that one truly appreciates the global power of Great Britain.

For all our success, it has not been easy for us to meet the greatest challenge we have faced since the Second World War.

I must pay tribute to the work of our scientists, researchers, regulators, manufacturers, armed forces, Government ministers, and of course every part of our wonderful NHS.

Thanks to the commitment and sacrifice of these unsung heroes, particularly those in South Yorkshire, we have an effective vaccine rollout in operation today.

To that end, I wish to thank the vaccine centre at Anston, the Rotherham CCG, and the local primary care network for their phenomenal efforts in ensuring that Rother Valley is vaccinated quickly and safely.

I, for my part, have been busy lobbying for the best possible vaccine provision for our area.

I raised in Parliament the need for vaccine centres in areas such as Swallownest and Maltby to ensure maximum vaccine uptake amongst the elderly and vulnerable.

In Rother Valley, the vaccine is saving lives and taking us a step closer to normality with every single injection.

However, we must not lower our guard.

Coronavirus is more deadly than ever and is wreaking havoc wherever it spreads.

The national lockdown is absolutely necessary to allow the vaccine rollout to take effect.

If we stop following the rules now, we will undo all we have achieved and coronavirus will kill thousands more.

Therefore, I urge you to stay at home for the sake of our grandparents, our parents, and our vulnerable persons, combat vaccine disinformation wherever you find it and remain positive in this most difficult of winters.

If you need any help or have any questions, please do reach out to me.

Alexander Stafford is MP for Rother Valley.