‘Relief’ for Welsh First Minister after wife and mother-in-law given Covid jabs

Adam Hale, PA Wales Correspondent

First Minister Mark Drakeford has spoken of his “relief” after both his wife and mother-in-law were given coronavirus vaccinations.

The Welsh Labour leader said he was now the only one in his household who was yet to receive the jab, and was “hugely grateful” that both women had received their first doses of the vaccine.

His wife, Clare Drakeford, 66, and her 94-year-old mother, had both shielded from the pandemic due to their health conditions, forcing Mr Drakeford to live for a period of time alone in an outbuilding at the bottom of his garden.

Mr Drakeford previously said both women contracted the virus and fell ill earlier last year, before recovering.

Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency: “Due to their conditions they are both in the top four priority groups and have both been vaccinated.

“Both experiences were excellent in terms of how smoothly it went and how well it was organised, and they’ve had no ill effects of any sort.”

He added: “I’m hugely grateful, because they’re both vulnerable. And although they’ve been incredibly careful and don’t do anything that puts them at risk, the fact they’ve had the vaccine is a relief.

“You can see how it gives people a different outlook, that they can see the light at the end of all of this.”

Mr Drakeford, 66, said he would be captured within the next five priority groups but had not yet received an appointment to be vaccinated.

He also said he believed the “unfairness of the criticism” of Wales’ initial vaccine rollout, which was behind the other UK nations for the first weeks of the programme, had led to a “we’ll show them spirit” from those involved in it.

A recent sustained increase in the daily amount of vaccinations in Wales saw it overtake England on Saturday in giving out more first doses than any other country in the UK in proportion to its population.

Mr Drakeford said: “I think the criticism, in the early days, has led to a bit of a spirit in parts of the NHS. A ‘we’ll show them’ spirit.

“People don’t like it when they know the criticism isn’t fair. That to judge the performance of a system on the first few days was never going to be the right way to form a judgment.

“I’ve spoken to two clinicians directly, who said to me that it made them even more determined to show what the Welsh system can do.”

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