Our ability to act quickly in relation to the covid vaccine is a welcome example of what we can do as an independent sovereign state. From the outset Government’s focus on backing the research and development of viable vaccines, procuring more than enough, securing approval of the vaccines and then distributing the first doses widely and rapidly is in sharp contrast to that of the EU’s covid vaccine programme. In the EU all 27 states were involved in the process to acquire the vaccine - orders were placed in August (3 months after the UK) and several other avoidable delays has led to just 3 doses in every 100 people being administered.
We can take heart that, when we put our mind to it and work together the UK can be nimble footed and take the lead. There is no denying the personal leadership of the PM of the vaccine rollout and I know that he is preparing now for a similarly focused and ambitious charge towards our economic recovery. In plain English this means creating the jobs people need, enabling people to own their own home and giving us all a stake and pride in our community and country.
I’m grateful that effective intervention has allowed local GPs to offer available vaccines to the next priority group ahead of time in certain circumstances. This follows our success in much of West Cornwall in getting the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to care home residents and staff, healthcare staff, people over 70 and people with critical conditions. I had the great privilege of going ‘behind the scenes’ of the St Clare Medical Centre vaccine centre and saw the seamless and smooth method by which hundreds of residents are receiving the vaccine every day! Both volunteers and staff made the experience as good as any and their part in the national effort is greatly appreciated!
I was deeply troubled at hearing of the loss of life of Cornish fisherman Leigh Spencer, on Saturday off Scilly. His family has lost a son, husband and father and they remain in my thoughts and prayers. As do the crew who will remember this awful event for life. Safety at sea has improved dramatically but this is a stark reminder of what can and does happen as these fishermen go about earning a living.
On a cold snowy day in early February it may seem strange to be thinking of preparing for tourism once again. However, last year, preparations to open tourism safely, began in early April (3 months before holidays were permitted). So, on Tuesday MPs joined tourism leaders to discuss financial support and guidance to ensure the sector could recover when permitted and play a key part in our economic recovery and the nation’s health and well-being. It is worth pointing out that due to comprehensive planning (where West Cornwall took a leading role) tourism had no impact on the spread of coronavirus and was basically the only growth area of our economy in July, August and September.