I understand that there is enormous interest and concern about the progress of the rollout and I have been monitoring the situation closely. I was pleased to have met with Powys Teaching Health Board on Wednesday, who have provided me with the following update.
Over the next few months coronavirus vaccines will be rolled out to the first priority groups – frontline health and social care workers, over 80s, over 75s, over 70s and those deemed to be 'Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’.
Across Powys there are 9800 people who are over the age of 80, of which 960 are in care homes. The vaccination of care home residents is currently under way and will hopefully be complete by the end of next week. The vaccination of those over the age of 80 has begun and so far, 3000 invitation letters gone out to this group asking them to call and book an appointment. Anybody who hasn’t responded to this invitation will be passed on to their GP to follow up and make sure they receive an opportunity to have the vaccine.
There are approximately 7000 health and social care staff across Powys and almost all of them have now been vaccinated. By the end of January all health and social care workers, and all people over 80 will have been given an opportunity to receive the coronavirus vaccine. By mid-February, everyone over 75 will have been offered the vaccine.
Vaccines are being administered in mass vaccination centres in Bronllys Hospital and soon at the Royal Welsh Show Ground to all those groups. Eventually these centres will be open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. From 25th January, vaccines should be available to patients in GPs surgeries on an invitation basis. The Health Board is also working to roll out jabs in community and commercial pharmacies over the coming weeks.
Due to the number of people phoning to book appointments, there have been some issues with the booking system. However, the Health Board is working hard to address this and as the vaccine rolls out, they will be moving to a pre-booked system.
I have been assured that there is a good supply of the Pfizer vaccine, and Powys Teaching Health Board does not foresee any supply issues with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Given the high demand, however, a “no wastage” approach is being taken to administering the vaccine and a reserve list of NHS staff has been created so that vaccine doses which would have been wasted due to “no-shows” are put to good use. Quite incredibly, only one dose of the vaccine has been wasted so far during the rollout in Powys, and that was due to an issue with the syringe. That said, I cannot stress how important it is that people turn up to the vaccination appointments they have booked.
Finally, the mass vaccination sites at Bronllys Hospital and soon to be at the Royal Welsh Showground are being supported by volunteers from PAVO, and I cannot thank them enough. More volunteers are always needed so please do sign up or share this link with others who might like to volunteer: https://powys.volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/index.htm.
Just under 5,000 people have been vaccinated in Powys so far. This is an excellent start and I want to thank everyone who has quickly stepped into different roles to ensure we can get going. I will continue to keep a close eye on the progress of the rollout, so we can make sure constituents in Brecon and Radnorshire are vaccinated as soon as possible.
Fay Jones MP
Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire