Posted: Wed 24th Feb 2021

North Wales health board expecting an “increase in the numbers of vaccines available” from early March

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021

The deputy chief executive of the North Wales health board says they are expecting an “increase in the numbers of vaccines available” from early March.

It comes after a national shortage, caused by central vaccines production capacity, saw a drop in the number of vaccines being administered across the UK.

Earlier this week Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) became the first in Wales to administer more than 200,000 vaccines, which includes both first and second doses.

Work has also started to administer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to those who were vaccinated at the start of the rollout in December.

In north Wales, as of 21 February:

  • 213,107 COVID-19 vaccines had been administered
  • Of these, 174,870 vaccine doses went to individuals in the top four priority cohorts (both first and second doses)
  • Last week (14 – 21 February), 19,621 people received their first vaccination
  • 91 per cent of priority groups 1 to 4 had been vaccinated or have been offered an appointment.
  • 63 per cent of those in priority group 5 had been vaccinated. When 80 per cent of this cohort is reached in the coming days, the health board will start to vaccinate those in priority group 6

However just 136 vaccines were administered across the region on Sunday. This has now increased to 880 as of yesterday, however this is still below the numbers being carried out prior to the vaccine shortage.

The supply issue has meant that the local vaccination centre, on the Wrexham Glyndwr University campus, is only operating at one day a week for the next fortnight.

In an update Gill Harris, deputy chief executive of BCUHB, said that although supplies are limited this week, from next month there is expected be an increase in the number of vaccines available,

She said: “This will enable us to ramp up the numbers of vaccinations we give in order to reach the next target set by Welsh Government to complete the vaccination of cohorts 1 to 9 by the end of April.

“Over 60 per cent of the over 65s have also now been vaccinated. When GP surgeries take delivery of further AstraZeneca vaccines over the coming days, they will continue to vaccinate priority group 5 before moving on to priority group 6.

“We have been working hard to ensure that no-one from priority groups 1 to 4 has been left behind. However, we still have a small number of people who we have not been able to reach. Anyone in these groups who has not been contacted should call 03000 840004 to arrange an appointment.

“As has been announced at a Wales wide level, the supplies of vaccine available to all Health Boards will again be lower this week compared to what we received earlier in the programme. This is due to production levels centrally. This week we will receive a total of 26,380 vaccines (16,380 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 10, 000 of the AstraZeneca vaccine). The Pfizer vaccines will be used primarily for second doses.

“In order to prevent vaccine wastage, we have finalised a standby list – agreed with partners – of staff who will be called upon if any spare vaccines become available at the end of each day.

“These staff may be called upon to attend one of our Mass Vaccination Centres at short, and occasionally very short notice. This standby list will not be opened up to the general public.

“Discussions are ongoing at a national level to finalise the criteria for non-paid carers who are included in priority group 6. We expect an update on this later this week.”

Ms Harris added: “Since the beginning of the vaccination programme, we have been working with various groups to understand the barriers that might cause difficulty for some people in receiving the vaccine. Many groups such as people with disabilities, those with sight and hearing problems, those with cultural or language barriers, travelling communities and the homeless, already experience inequalities.

“GPs have also been using their knowledge of their registered patients to ensure that vaccinations have been administered to the right groups.

“To ensure easier access and more equitable access of the vaccine, a Task and Finish Group has been established.”

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