COVID-19 vaccine planning ‘well underway’ in Wales – Immunisation of the most vulnerable could began by December
Planning for the delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine in Wales is well underway, and immunisation amongst the most vulnerable could began by December, the Welsh government has said.
Care home residents and people who work in care homes will be amongst the first in Wales to receive the vaccine, once it has been given the green light by regulators.
Earlier this week, preliminary data showed that Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine was 90% effective in preventing symptomatic disease with no safety concerns raised.
The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
News of the vaccine has sparked hopes of a return to ‘normal life’ and a stock markets soared following an announcement of the breakthrough by Pfizer on Monday.
First minister said yesterday that Wales “will receive our population share of any vaccine once it becomes properly approved and available.”
“The planning for its storage and distribution will be in the hands of the Welsh Government.”
“The Welsh plan, which is very similar to plans elsewhere in the United Kingdom, is to begin with priority groups and priority staff who are capable of administering the vaccine.”
A COVID-19 vaccine will only be approved for use in the UK by Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) once it has met robust standards of effectiveness, safety and quality through testing and the trials.
It’s reported the Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at -70ºC which is “far different to the way a flu vaccination is stored at a GP surgery, stored in an ordinary fridge.” Mr Drakeford said.
“The logistical issues that will fall to the Welsh Government are very real, but have been in preparation for many months.” He added.
Mr Drakeford said they would use the Welsh Blood Service, who have facilities and in different parts of Wales will be able keep it refrigerated at the correct temperature.
The vaccine has to be administered twice at a three week interval and it doesn’t become effective until the first week after the second dose of the vaccine has been delivered.
In a statement the Welsh government said that “Planning for the delivery of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Wales is well underway.”
“This includes organising the logistics for transporting the vaccine, identifying suitable venues for vaccinations to take place, and ensuring that healthcare professionals are available and trained to administer the vaccines.”
“There will be limited supplies of a vaccine at first, so it will be offered to those at highest risk.”
“The vaccines need to pass final safety checks, but if this occurs we will begin to immunise in December alongside other UK nations.”
“Health and social care workers, care home residents and staff have been prioritised to receive a vaccine first, with roll out to older people in age bands from next year.”
During a UK government Coronavirus data briefing yesterday, Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said that mathematical models have looked at different vaccination strategies and how those might work.
He said the “interim current recommendations – which may change as we get more information – at the very top of our priority list are care home residents and people who work in care homes.”
“This reflects the devastating impact of COVID-19 in our care homes as we all know.
“Following on from care home residents, we will prioritise older individuals going down age spans down from 80 plus year olds to 60 plus year olds.”
“The reason for this is because age is by far the strongest risk factor associated with severe COVID-19 disease.”
“Following on from those who are aged 65 and above, we will then prioritise individuals, particularly adult who have an underlying health condition that puts them at risk of COVID-19 disease.”
“Following on from there we will keep going down to age bands to individuals who are 50 years and above, that describes phase one of the program and phase one as I say, is aimed at protecting the most vulnerable.”
“If phase one is completed, then we will have protected hopefully over 99 per cent of those individuals who are at risk of dying from COVID-19.”
“We have not decided yet on who else should be vaccinated beyond phase one, that’s not to say that they shouldn’t be vaccinated, but simply that we haven’t decided that yet on prioritisation.”
“That’s because we need more information hopefully on the vaccines, who they’re good for, and whether they protect against transmission or infection.”
WATCH LIVE: Coronavirus data briefing (11 November 2020)
🔵 Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
🔵 Dr June Raine, CEO @MHRAgovuk
🔵 Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation https://t.co/gsaDTZm0Jk
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) November 11, 2020
During the press conference, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam was asked if he will be prepared to have the vaccine.
Prof Van Tam said: “I’m a 56 year old with one medium to high risk condition.”
“If I could, rightly and morally be at the very front of the queue, then I will do so because I absolutely trust the judgment of the MHRA on safety and efficacy, but that clearly isn’t right.”
“We have to target the most highest risk individuals in society and that is how it should be, but if I could be at the front of the queue, then I would be.”
Prof Van Tam said, “I think the mum test is very important here.”
“My mum is 78 she’ll be 79 shortly and I’ve already said to her, Mum make sure when you’re called you’re ready, be ready to take this up.”
“This is really important for you because of your age, and just be ready to be called.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com