Covid: Mandatory vaccinations 'most unlikely', says minister

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Vaughan Gething: "I don't think it's sensible for any politician to rule out possible options"

Mark Drakeford has defended his health minister for not ruling out compulsory coronavirus vaccinations in the future during a television interview.

Vaughan Gething told ITV Wales: "I wouldn't rule out anything at this point but mandation is at the most extreme end and the most unlikely."

Conservative Senedd member Suzy Davies called it "Orwellian" and a "real attack on personal freedoms".

But the first minister called Mr Gething's answer "absolutely right".

Speaking to the Sharp End programme, broadcast on Monday night, Mr Gething said: "I don't think it's sensible for any politician to rule out possible options, because we can't tell where we're going to be in a month, let alone in six months or a year.

"So, all options are available to the government. We're planning on the basis that we'll be able to deliver significant vaccination programme."

During Tuesday's First Minister's Questions in the Senedd, Ms Davies said it was a "completely Orwellian statement, a real attack on personal freedoms".

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Mr Drakeford and Mr Gething said there were no plans for mandatory vaccination

Brexit Party Senedd leader Mark Reckless said a "programme of forced injections would break international law".

Responding, Mr Drakeford said the health minister had been asked on the programme "would he rule something out - he simply said that he wouldn't".

"It went no further than that, there's no implication in what he said that he had made a decision of any sort.

"In the context of coronavirus, when so much is unknown and where the stakes are so high, to have ruled out something at this stage, I think, would not have been a responsible thing to do and I think he was absolutely right in the answer that he gave."

'For their own political advantage'

Mr Drakeford said that there were no plans for forced injections.

"There is no such programme, there never has been such a programme, there is no proposal to have such a programme," he said.

"People who want to pretend that there is are doing it entirely for their own political advantage and nothing else."

Later in the Senedd, Mr Gething repeated his statement that mandatory vaccination would be the "most extreme and most unlikely action" and emphasised that the Welsh Government was not planning to do it.

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