Elsewhere I have written about the fantastic work of all those who are delivering Covid-19 vaccinations across Monmouthshire. However, their enthusiasm now needs to be matched by the Welsh Government. First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he is deliberately slowing down the roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine because he is not sure when the second doses will arrive and “does not want staff standing around and doing nothing”. I must disagree. That first dose provides protection. There are various figures as to how much protection - but they range from 50 per cent to 90 per cent. Even 50 per cent protection is a lot better than nothing so getting that first dose to as many people as quickly as possible is vital and will save lives. As for people “standing around and doing nothing”, I very much doubt it. The NHS and armed forces personnel I met over the weekend at the mass vaccination centre in Abergavenny were working flat out. They didn’t strike me as the kind of people who would ever sit around and do nothing. But if by getting the vaccine out quickly they get some sort of a paid break, then good luck to them. They deserve it!
Highways England has been in touch to let me know a dedicated website has been set up to help people plan their journeys when using the M48 Severn Bridge or M4 Prince of Wales Bridge. I am told this was the result of “feedback” from myself and local residents. The website includes real time information about whether the bridges are currently open or closed; details of any planned bridge closures taking place in the next seven days; and further information explaining why the bridges are closed for maintenance and during windy conditions. I understand Highways England will continue to develop the site to “make sure it meets our customers’ needs” and comments are welcome using the feedback options at the top and side of the page. You can view the website here: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/travel-updates/the-severn-bridges
I mentioned in last week’s column that a constituent had asked if there is a charity which gives unwanted laptops to children who do not have computer equipment and are being educated at home while schools are closed. I have been directed towards an organisation called business2schools.com which is working with the BBC to do this.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 20 January 2021 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 21 January 2021*