MARK Drakeford has moved to clarify Wales' coronavirus vaccination progress amid concern thousands of doses were sitting unused.

The first minister faced several questions on the matter in the Senedd on Tuesday afternoon, following claims Wales was falling behind the rest of the UK in its efforts to vaccinate the public against Covid-19.

Opposition leader Paul Davies said it had been confirmed Wales had received 280,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech jab and 47,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab – but "only around 91,000 doses have been administered" in Wales (as of Tuesday).

Mr Drakeford said the vaccination programme was "a sustained effort" rather than something that could be "done with in a few days or a week".

He said the the Welsh Government was "using every bit" of the Oxford vaccine – which can be stored and preserved more easily than the Pfizer jab – "as soon as we get it".


The latest figures show 101,000 people in Wales had been vaccinated, as of today (Wednesday).

The Welsh Government was expecting a further 25,000 Oxford jab doses this week, followed by 80,000 next week, Mr Drakeford told the Senedd.

But the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, the first minister said, would be done gradually.

"[The stocks of Pfizer vaccines] have to last us until the end of the first week of February," Mr Drakeford told Mr Davies. "They're not given to us to use in a few days; that is the supply Wales has for the whole of January and the first week of February as well. And that's why it would never have been a sensible proposition to have suggested that we should have used the whole of that supply in the first few days.

"That supply has to be evened out over the weeks for which it is available, so that we have vaccinators with work to do in every week able to make the very most of that supply."

Angela Burns asked why health boards hadn't been given powers to obtain licences for buying and distributing vaccines and transferring the doses straight to GPs.

Mr Drakeford said Wales had avoided this type of ordering process "to ensure fairness".

"If we simply allowed GPs to be in a free-for-all for ordering it, there might not be any vaccine in Pembrokeshire at all, because it would have been collared by GPs who just got quicker on the line and got it elsewhere," he said. "So, our ordering process is designed to make sure that there is vaccine available in every part of Wales, and as we bring them on stream, to every practice."