Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows roundup: Zahawi ‘confident’ over-50s will get jab by May

Sunday shows roundup: Zahawi ‘confident’ over-50s will get jab by May
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Nadhim Zahawi – ‘I’m confident’ all over 50s will get jab by May

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi was sent out to bat for the government this morning, at a time when over 11 million people have received a first dose of an approved Covid vaccine. Zahawi told Sophy Ridge that he was certain that, despite any possible disruption caused by the European Commission’s aborted jab grab, the government was still on course to meet its targets. The first four priority groups are forecast to be vaccinated by mid-February; and groups five-nine are estimated to be offered a jab at some point in the spring: 

NZ: I’m confident we’ll meet our mid-February targets… I’m also confident, because I have enough line of sight of the deliveries that are coming through, that we’ll also meet the 1-9 cohorts by May, and we’ll say more about that next week.

Oxford vaccine does protect against ‘serious’ effects of South African strain

Financial Times


NZ: Through their own trials, AstraZeneca is confident that it does effectively deal with serious illness [and] disease… Of course, the virus will mutate… We are able to sequence the genomes of the mutations rapidly… [and] we are… looking to manufacture the new variant of vaccine that deals with the new variant of virus in the UK.

Virus will spread through unvaccinated groups ‘like wildfire’

NZ: Throughout the whole deployment programme, we… make sure we’re targeting… and engaging with faith leaders [and] community leaders… We’re translating all the messages into 13 different languages [in order to] reach those hard to reach communities… If one particular community remains unvaccinated then the virus will seek them out and will go through that community like wildfire.

We’re working with social media companies to combat fake vaccine news

NZ: They’re doing quite a bit… We set up a unit across government that looks at all the anti-vaxx messages and alerts the social media platforms to them to help them take them down as quickly as possible… We continue to work with them very closely, but we can always do more.

Vaccine passports would be ‘discriminatory’ 

NZ: One, we don’t know the impact of the vaccine on transmission. Two, it would be discriminatory, and the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward because they want to… Your GP will hold the records, and that will then be able to be used as your proof that you’ve had the vaccine.

Ed Miliband – ‘Of course we need to be a patriotic party’


EM: Of course we need to be a patriotic party. I find it pretty surprising that people think it’s controversial that Keir Starmer would appear with a Union Jack… I don’t agree with [Clive]. The flag matters.

New Cumbria coal mine should not open

Marr asked about plans to open the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years. Miliband argued that the Labour party’s association with coal mines ought to come to an end: 

EM: We can’t be opening new coal mines and then claiming to be a big climate leader… The government’s… hosting a very important summit in November – COP 26 – on international climate change…. and we’re going to be saying to other countries ‘you can’t open new coal mines’…. We’ve got to find alternatives.

Andy Burnham - Vaccine rollout should account for life expectancy

AB: It’s got to be a judgment based on health… Life expectancy varies very widely across the UK. There are places where it’s 10 years behind the areas where it’s highest… I am saying, put greater supplies of the vaccine into those areas where life expectancy is lowest.

Sian Berry – HS2 ‘has got out of hand’

SB: We are against this project… We want to see more railways, but this project has got out of hand… [It is] attacking ancient woodland, going through these very very sensitive landscapes… These are irreplaceable habitats, and they didn’t need to be in firing lines of this project.

Sarah Gilbert - New version of Oxford vaccine will be available by autumn

SG: Yes, it looks like it very much will be available for the autumn. We’re already working on the first part of the manufacturing process… At the moment, it’s all about being prepared… We’ll be ready.

David Nabarro – ‘Great co-operation and good results’ from China

DN: The situation as I am being told, is that the co-operation has been exemplary. The visit was carefully planned. All the sites that the WHO people wanted to visit are being visited… What I’m going to say is, great co-operation and good results so far.