The roll-out of the Covid vaccine continues to cause great concern to many of my constituents.

NHS staff at all levels, including in our local GP surgeries, are working tirelessly to protect our most vulnerable residents.  It is great news for example that teams have been prioritising local care homes and vaccinating residents and staff.

However they can’t operate without a supply of the vaccine, and it is clear that the Government have failed to deliver this.

Last week operations at the Chester le Street hub were suspended because no vaccines were delivered.  When I raised this in Parliament with the Secretary of State, he suggested that people in North Durham should ‘cheer up’.  I find this frankly insulting to my constituents, who are deeply concerned about the delays.  You can watch the video here :

Statement in Parliament

We now hear that the supply of doses to the North East is to be halved, so that the vaccine can be redirected to London and the South East.  Boris Johnson and his Conservative  colleagues claim to care about the North East – this shows how hollow their words are.  I appeared on BBC Look North to express my concerns about this – my contribution starts at 1:44.

I am greatly concerned by the Government’s lack of planning and clear communications with the public, which has been a pattern throughout this pandemic.  They should have been working with local organisations on the ground months ago to work out the logistics of this exercise, and to explain the plan to the public.

They should have also been far more transparent about who was responsible for delivery on the ground, and how priority groups would be identified, especially given that many families have members in different categories.

Please be assured that I will continue to monitor the situation locally very carefully, and to speak up for my constituents at every opportunity.

If I can assist you further in any way, then please do not hesitate to contact me again at any time.