As high proportions of the first three priority groups have received or been booked in for their COVID-19 vaccinations in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire; the vaccine programme is being rolled out further more.
People aged 70 to 74 years old and those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (who were recently written to in order to shield) will be contacted by their GP practices to receive their first dose of the vaccine this week.
At the same time, GPs will be completing or ensuring they have contacted all over 80-year-olds in their areas.
GP practices have also been busy vaccinating older adult care home residents. Last week, the health board announced that around 85.7% of older adults in eligible care homes have been vaccinated and this figure has further risen this week to more than 90%.
NHS England announced yesterday that they had reached the milestone of offering vaccines in all eligible older adult care homes, and this milestone was met in Hywel Dda UHB last week – with only nine care homes either partially vaccinated or where vaccination has not yet been able to take place due to safety reasons during local outbreaks.
Letters to all people aged 75-79 years old in the Hywel Dda UHB have also now all been sent and so everyone in this age bracket should receive their letter to make an appointment by the end of this week.
People in this age bracket are being vaccinated in six mass vaccination centres across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
In a statement, Hywel Dda health board said: “If you are given an appointment to receive your vaccine at a mass vaccination centre it is very important that you make every effort to attend. GP practices will not have the vaccine supplies required to vaccinate people aged 75 to 79 and people are asked to not contact their GP to request an appointment.
“Please be assured the mass vaccination centres provide a safe environment, and space to maintain social distancing while allowing more people to be vaccinated as efficiently and as quickly as possible.
“The health board is also working closely with community organisations and transport groups to ensure support is given to those who are genuinely struggling to travel to a mass vaccination centre. Please contact the health board using the number on your appointment letter if you require assistance with transport.”
Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB Steve Moore said: “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. 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 therefore really encouraging and we are confident we will reach the target of offering vaccination to people in priority groups 1-4 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.”
Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, 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.”