Everyone in the first four Covid-19 priority groups in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire will have been offered a vaccination in the next two weeks, a Welsh health board has claimed.
Hywel Dda University Health Board, which manages healthcare across the three counties, is confident that the target can be met as it this week extends its vaccination roll-out to people aged between 70 and 74 and those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.
That particular group is the fourth priority group as outlined by Public Health Wales, after residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, people aged 80 and over and frontline health and social care workers, and people aged 75 and over.
Hywel Dda has said that more than 90% of older adults in eligible care homes have been vaccinated, with only nine care homes across the region remaining not fully vaccinated due to safety reasons arising from local outbreaks.
Meanwhile, the health board has said that they will in the coming days be ensuring that everyone aged 80 and over has been contacted, and also confirmed that letters have now been sent to everyone aged between 75 and 79. Those letters should all be delivered by the end of this week, inviting people in that group to arrange vaccination appointments at one of six mass vaccination centres.
In data released last week, it was revealed that (up to January 28) almost 40,000 people had been vaccinated across the three counties in the Hywel Dda region, including more than three quarters of care home workers, more than 60% of people aged 80 and over, and almost 70% of health and social care workers.
In the coming two weeks, it is hoped that every single person in the first four priority groups in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire will have been offered a vaccine – either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs which are the two currently being rolled out across the UK.
“We aim to offer the vaccine to 100% of people in the priority groups and realistically expect to achieve about 75% of the population overall getting vaccinated,” said Steve Moore, chief executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board.
“The high take-up we are seeing amongst the priority groups – where we can make the greatest difference to protecting the most vulnerable from death or serious harm from COVID-19 – is really encouraging and we are confident we will reach the target of offering vaccination to people in priority groups one to four by mid-February.
“We are rolling out this vaccination programme as quickly as we can, with teams working incredibly hard, and using all our strengths as an integrated health system. Our aim is to ensure we reach everyone in the highest priority groups as quickly as possible and as close to home as possible recognising the different types of vaccine at our disposal and likely supply levels. That is why some groups will be vaccinated in their local GPs surgery and others at mass vaccination centres, sometimes concurrently.”
If the target of offering the vaccine to every person in the first four priority groups in the next two weeks is achieved, the health board will then focus on extending that to cover all priority groups (everyone aged 50 and above) by early April.
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Ros Jervis, the health board’s director of public health, said: “On behalf of the health board I’d like to thank everyone working in and supporting our primary care services and mass vaccination centres for their hard work in delivering the largest vaccination programme Wales has ever delivered.
“We understand that people are anxious to receive their vaccine as soon as possible. We thank everyone for their ongoing patience as we work our way through our priority groups, with the ambition to offer everyone in priority groups 1 to 9 a vaccine by Easter.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk