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Gibraltar ‘hours away’ from full vaccination of adult population

Gibraltar is just “hours away” from vaccinating its entire adult population against Covid-19, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the Gibraltar Parliament on Thursday.

He was speaking after UK Health Minister Matt Hancock referred to Gibraltar’s vaccination programme during a debate in the House of Commons.

“I am delighted to be able to tell the house that yesterday, Gibraltar became the first nation in the world to complete its entire adult vaccination programme,” Mr Hancock told the Commons.

“I want to pay tribute to all Gibraltarians for their fortitude during this crisis and the kind words of first minister Fabian Picardo, who said yesterday ‘the United Kingdom has played a blinder on vaccinations and we are among the beneficiaries in the British family of nations’.”

Mr Hancock’s comments were widely reported, although they were not, in fact, correct.

He had based his comments on a statement by the Chief Minister to Parliament earlier this week, and the “milestone” he referred to was raised in the House again during question time on Thursday.

“What I said [earlier this week] was that we will be the first nation to be fully vaccinated, not that we are,” Mr Picardo said.

“But I think we are hours away.”

The Chronicle understands that Gibraltar’s adult population could be fully vaccinated within four days.

As of Thursday, Gibraltar had administered 49,981 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, including 20,147 second doses.

Despite the crossed wires, Mr Picardo welcomed Mr Hancock’s comments and again thanked the UK for its support during the pandemic, particularly by providing a steady supply of free vaccines.

Mr Picardo said the UK’s support reflected its close relationship with Gibraltar, something that Mr Hancock also acknowledged in the Commons.

“I agree, the vaccination programme has been a success thanks to a team spirit across the British family of nations,” the Health Secretary said.

“Throughout the crisis, we have provided Gibraltar with PPE, testing and a sovereign guarantee for their Covid spending.”

“We have also provided Gibraltar with vaccines, as we have with all other British overseas territories.”

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