Health board: Local media reports of “anti vax mood hardening” is simply “not borne out by the evidence”
The health board in North Wales has said local media reports that an “anti-vaccine mood is hardening” is simply not ”borne out by the evidence.”
In her latest weekly update, Gill Harris – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery said that in last week’s COVID-19 vaccination update, “we provided an overview of the lengths our staff have gone to in order to ensure that people have the opportunity to be vaccinated.”
She said: “We cited the efforts of our COVID-19 Vaccination Contact Centre staff, who attempted to contact around 1,500 people over the Bank Holiday weekend, leading to 111 booked vaccination appointments.”
“This was reported by some of our local media as evidence of ‘anti-vaccine mood hardening’ across the region. However, this is simply not borne out by the evidence.”
Gill Harris said: “Almost 60 per cent of the 1,500 phone calls made by our staff went unanswered, while over half of those we managed to speak to said they had already been vaccinated, had an appointment booked, or planned to book online.”
“Appointments were booked for 20 per cent of those we managed to speak to, while just seven per cent said they did not want to be vaccinated.”
Over 80% of people in North Wales now double jabbed
Nearly 90 per cent of the eligible population of North Wales have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 82 per cent have had their second.
“We have seen good take up among 16-17-year-olds with almost 10,000 COVID-19 vaccinations administered.”
“To enable further take up across our broad geography we will be deploying our mobile vaccination units to target those aged 16-17, as we are well aware that this age group can find it difficult to travel to vaccination centres because they are more reliant on public transport and lifts from family members. ” Gill Harris said.
She added: “In support of this we will be working with our local authorities and colleges across the region over the coming weeks.”
“We’d like to remind all those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine that it’s quick and easy to book your first or second dose using our online booking service or by attending one of our walk in sessions, for which appointments are not required.”
COVID-19 vaccine booster
The health board is still awaiting final advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the scope of the COVID-19 booster programme.
“We ask those who are likely to be eligible based on the JCVI’s interim advice to please be patient and remember that there is no need to contact us to book an appointment. You will be contacted directly when it is your turn.”
“Due to the way in which the COVID-19 and Flu vaccinations are delivered and the expected start dates for the respective campaigns, it will not be standard practice to give people these jabs at the same time.” Gill Harris said.
Following a recruitment event last month, the North Wales health board will be welcoming around 50 additional staff into its vaccination teams in the coming weeks.
In some cases, new recruits will replace current vaccination staff, who are returning to their substantive roles across the health board.
Further recruitment events may be held in the coming weeks. “These will be widely publicised on social media and on our website.” Gill Harris said.