Wales is set to get around 100,000 extra doses of the Oxford AstraZenaca vaccine next week WalesOnline understands – a significant rise on the 25,000 doses that the country was due to receive this week.
On January 10, The Welsh Government confirmed it had in excess of 250,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 22,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.
It said it expected to receive an additional 25,000 doses of the Oxford vaccine this week and 80,000 next week. However, WalesOnline now understand this has risen to around 100,000 doses.
Despite this, as of January 10, Wales had the lowest vaccination rate out of all four nations having vaccinated 2.8% of the population compared to Northern Ireland, which had vaccinated 4.1% of people on the same date.
A total of 88,163 doses of Covid-19 vaccinations had been administered across Wales, according to the latest data from Public Health Wales. Since those figures were released, more than 24,000 further jabs have been administered.
The number of jabs given has been ramped up over the past four weeks, with 38,735 people receiving their fist jabs between January 4 and January 10 compared to 14,093 the week before.
In order to hit the February deadline, Wales needs to vaccinate at circa 19,000 doses per day.
Nearly all of these were first doses of the vaccine, which is given in two separate jabs. Only 79 people have so far received their second dose, meaning they should now be fully immunised against the virus.
By mid-February the aim in Wales is for all care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; everyone over 70 and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable to have been offered vaccination. This equates to around 740,350 people.
Of the doses expected to be administered by mid-February, WalesOnline understands that 40% will take place in mass vaccination centres, 48% in a GP practice, 5% within a mobile vaccination centre and 7% in a hybrid mass vaccination centre.
Supplies vary from week to week which means it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the programme will be completed.
In an interview with WalesOnline yesterday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said there were already 100 GP practices involved in administering the vaccine, set to rise to 250 by the end of the month, as well as 22 mass vaccination centres which will rise to 35.
In critiquing the Welsh Government’s record on vaccination, many people have been asking why 24-hour centres have not been considered.
The First Minister has previously said he does not think that demand in the first four priority groups warrants this approach.
He said: “There aren’t that many 80-year-olds who are keen to be out at three o’clock in the morning going to have their vaccine and, at the moment, those are the groups we are concentrating on.
“There will be people, but I think there will be relatively small groups of people, for whom getting a vaccine at night, because of their working patterns or whatever it is, would be the right answer.
“When we get to that point we will look to make provision for them. At the moment what I don’t want to see is people sitting, waiting, for people to come through the door at three o’clock in the morning when they could be vaccinating a lot of people at three o’clock in the afternoon. It’s how you make best use of your staff isn’t it?”
It is thought that all organisations are looking at how extending opening hours could work in future and what this would look like.
The Welsh Government said it had to look at both the modelling as well as the benefits of doing this and said it was unlikely to have much benefit to the current vaccination cohort.
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The plans on accelerating this beyond the first priority groups is thought to be in an advanced stage – depending on vaccine supply.
GPs and Public Health figures have been raising questions this week about whether the Welsh Government’s targets are feasible and say they have struggled to get vaccines.
Fiona Kinghorn, Cardiff And Vale University Health Board’s executive director of Public Health, said on Wednesday there wa sn’t currently “enough supply” of the coronavirus vaccine to meet the mid-February target set by the Welsh Government.
While a Carmarthenshire GP has called the vaccine rollout “shambolic” as doctors’ surgeries across Wales complain about the number of doses of the vaccine they have received.
Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday, Health Minister Vaughan Gething responded to the complaints, saying that the small number of doses of the Oxford vaccine that Wales had so far received was making it difficult for health boards to offer significant amounts to doctors’ surgeries.
While supply of both vaccines ultimately determines how many doses are given across the country, the administration of the Pfvizer is most challenging due to the low temperatures in which it is stored and the inability to break up batches – meaning one centre could receive 1,000 doses of the vaccine while another centre receives zero.
The Welsh Government said such inconsistencies in supply should level out as the country received more doses of both vaccines.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk