ROYTON Health Centre, Oldham, welcomed Ashton and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner today who spoke to staff and patients of the “crucial moment” brought by the vaccine roll-out and praised their hard work.

Oldham plans to vaccinate everyone in the most vulnerable groups by mid-February, providing the government fixes current issues with supply.

Staff at Royton Health Centre have already administered 1,400 vaccines with a target to do 10,000 before the end of the month.

Nationwide the NHS is aiming to vaccinate 2 million people per week, a target set to hit 4 million per week by February

Ms Rayner, Labour’s Deputy Leader, 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.”

“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.”

Ms Rayner called on the government to improve its communication with vaccination centres and to get the vaccines out quicker and in greater numbers.

“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,” she added.

In a letter to business groups, sent prior to her visit, Ms Rayner urged employers to give staff paid time off to attend vaccination appointments and take vulnerable family members to their appointments.

Ms Rayner wrote: “You will know first-hand how damaging delays will be to our economy and to businesses."

The letter is backed by figures released by the Office for Budget Responsibility which reveal that every week of the pandemic costs the economy £5 billion and the NHS £1billlion and sees 23,000 people lose their jobs.

Business leaders were also encouraged to use their platforms to promote the importance of getting the jab and ward off anti-vax misinformation.

It comes after Councillor Zahid Chauhan, raised concerns that people from the BAME community and other deprived communities are not getting vaccinated due to conspiracy theories.

Councillor Chauhan said on Twitter: “I have been inundated with questions about chip insertion, changing DNA etc.”

Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Debbie Abrahams, has since said she has raised the issue with Ministers.