THE WELSH Government has hit back at UK health secretary Matt Hancock claimed the union was the reason behind the success of Wales' vaccination programme.

Mr Hancock was speaking whilst he faced questions from MPs on his handling of the pandemic.

Addressing the issues of vaccines, Mr Hancock said that Wales will rely on an English "buffer" of vaccine supply should Wales' supply be interrupted.

He also said the union was one of the reasons why Wales' vaccination programme was one of the fastest in the world.


"We need to ensure that whatever happens in terms of security of supply there is enough vaccine for people to get their second doses, so we ensure that there is enough of a buffer that we can be confident that people will get their second doses," he said.

"It's a judgement how much how big that buffer needs to be. Our colleagues in Wales decided to hold no such buffer and go ahead on the presumption that supply will come through, but they also knew that if there was an interruption to supply, that England's buffer would be used to ensure nobody in Wales would miss their second vaccination.

"That is not a decision I could make for England because I can't draw on anybody else's buffer.

"I suppose what this demonstrates is the value of the UK-wide vaccination programme and the fact that we've taken a whole of UK approach benefits everybody, including in Wales - it enormously benefits the everybody living in Scotland - because we were able to procure on the behalf of the whole United Kingdom.

"I would argue that the vaccination programme demonstrates that the union saves lives and in the case of Wales, the union has helped them to have one of the fastest vaccination programmes in the world and I wish them every luck in the delivery of it."

However, the Welsh Government refuted the minister's comments, adding that it is "wrong" to say Wales is reliant on an English buffer.

"The success of our world-leading vaccine programme is a result of excellent planning and the sheer hard work of vaccine teams around Wales," said the Welsh Government on Twitter.

"It is wrong to suggest we're reliant on an 'English buffer' - we have our own – we are simply more efficient at using it."