Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:
First of all, Happy New Year to all readers. After the way 2020 turned out, I am confident that this year will be better than the last!
The key issue on everyone’s mind is understandably, Vaccines. These offer us the route out of the difficulties - to regain our freedom and to lift pressures on the vital workers across the area from NHS employees to carers to delivery drivers and everyone in between.
If you follow my Facebook page, you will see the lively debate that has been taking place. People are concerned that the rollout in Wales is slower than in other parts of the UK and that Barry and the Vale is not set to have a mass Vaccination Centre.
Please be assured that I am doing all possible to change this. It is unacceptable that Barry, as Wales’ largest town, has not been allocated a mass Vaccination Centre by the Welsh Government. Of course, we will have the excellent services of our GPs and practice nurses but the mass Vaccination Centres will operate over 7 days a week over extended hours – possibly 8am until 8pm.
It is also outrageous that the Welsh Government won’t list those centres for vaccinations. This brings a postcode lottery to new levels and means that your priority to be vaccinated will depend on where you live.
I am doing all I can to rattle the cages of politicians and the respective Authorities responsible. For too long Barry has been treated as a suburb of Cardiff by those in the Assembly. They need to recognise that we are a Town in our own right with a large population – and growing. You will also remember that they even tried to close our hospital! They must change their attitudes.
In spite of these challenges, I will always be an optimist and believe that by the summer, Covid will be well behind us – although we will still have much work to do to rebuild our communities.
For the moment, let’s come together; to get vaccinated, regain our freedom and rebuild our communities.