Angela visited a local health centre to talk to staff and patients as the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out.
AT Royton Health Centre, staff have already administered 1,400 vaccines with a target to do 10,000 before the end of the month.
The visit coincided with the launch of the Labour Party’s new campaign – Let’s Vaccinate Britain – which aims to encourage people to sign up as NHS volunteers and support the national effort by talking to their friends, family, neighbours and community.
Angela said: “The rollout of the vaccine is a crucial moment. This national effort is absolutely vital, and the government must get this right – we cannot have another repeat of the failures that we have seen over PPE, care homes and test and trace.
“We all have a part to play, which is why today I’ve written to business and employer organisations calling on employers to do their bit and give their workers time off to get vaccinated, time off to take their vulnerable family members to get vaccinated and support their staff signing up as NHS volunteers.
“Our NHS is ready and our amazing NHS staff are ready to get Britain vaccinated – we need to be vaccinating 2 million people per week now and going far above 2 million per week. We need to be hitting 4 million per week by February and that means the government needs to get the vaccines out to the NHS, and give our NHS staff clarity about how many vaccines they will be getting and when so they can plan.
“I want to pay tribute to the NHS staff I met today and all the NHS staff who are working so hard to roll out the vaccine. The relief that people have when they get their vaccine and seeing how much it means to people is so moving, and we need to support our NHS to get Britain vaccinated.
“Speaking to staff at the local vaccine clinic, I can tell you that our NHS is ready. In Oldham for example they have plans in place to vaccinate everyone in the most vulnerable groups by mid-February and they can deliver on that if they get the vaccines and the government sorts out the issues with supply.
“The government needs to be getting the vaccines out quicker, and in greater numbers to vaccination centres like this one. And crucially they need to be communicating better with the vaccination centres so the staff here know how many vaccines they’re going to get and when so they can contact people – often vulnerable people who have been shielding for most of the last 9 months – and they can make plans to get to the vaccination centre.
“I know from constituents in the most vulnerable categories who have contacted me that are still waiting for their vaccine, and from speaking to staff it’s clear that the issue is the government is not giving them enough clarity and enough notice about when they will be receiving vaccines and how many they will be getting, so they aren’t able to contact all of their patients in time.
“Figures released by the Office for Budget Responsibility show that every week is vital – we can’t afford any delays. Every week of this pandemic is costing our NHS £1 billion, costing our economy £5 billion and seeing 23,000 people lose their jobs.
“It’s absolutely crucial for our businesses and our economy that we get Britain vaccinated and get into a place where restrictions can be lifted and we can secure our economy. To enable that to happen we need the government to be delivering the millions of vaccinations every week.
“The message is very clear – if the government sorts out the supply and delivers the vaccines to our NHS then the NHS will get people vaccinated.”
Notes to Editors
Angela Rayner has written to the ‘Big 5’ business groups:
Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce
Mike Cherry, Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses
Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK
Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors