West Yorkshire leaders write to the Government urging ministers not to 'impact the credibility' of the vaccination programme

West Yorkshire leaders have written to Covid vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi urging the Government to reconsider diverting vaccine supplies away from areas that have been successful in their rollout.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 2:41 pm
The Government said yesterday that vaccines would be prioritised in areas that had not had much success with their rollout

Five council leaders said changing the vaccine plans now would “directly impact on the credibility of the local vaccination programme” and risk widening health inequalities.

The letter comes after the Government was criticised by MPs yesterday for “punishing” areas which had vaccinated a higher proportion of people aged 80 and over, after reports the North East and Yorkshire would see supplies cut by half.

Signed by Judith Blake CBE, Leader of Leeds City Council, Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council and Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, the letter said: “We have just heard that the allocation of previously agreed vaccines to Leeds/West Yorkshire has been reduced by around 50 per cent, and that some of these vaccines have been allocated to other areas outside West Yorkshire.

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“As Leaders of West Yorkshire authorities we would urge you to rapidly reconsider this decision and release sufficient vaccines to West Yorkshire.

“Without the previously agreed supply we are unlikely to get through the first 4 JCVI priority groups by 15 February as per our plan.

“Having to change our messaging and our local approach in primary care and the community will directly impact on the credibility of the local vaccination programme amongst staff and residents alike, and this “stop/start” approach risks widening health inequalities.

“We do not believe areas like ours should be penalised for highly effective delivery of the vaccine.”