Posted: Mon 13th Dec 2021

North Wales health board ‘we are doing everything we can to ramp up our booster programme’

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Dec 13th, 2021

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The health board in North Wales has said it is doing “everything” it can do to “ramp up” its booster programme but people will still not be able to book a booster jab online.

Yesterday the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers raised the Covid Alert level to 4, its second-highest level.

Following that announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson went on television on Sunday evening to address the nation, he said: “We are now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, Omicron.”

“Because of the evidence that Omicron is doubling here in the UK every two to three days.”

“We know from bitter experience how these exponential curves develop.”

“No-one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming,” Johnson said.

He added: “I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need.”

“But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.”

He went on to outline some of the actions that would be taken in England to ramp up booster jab delivery.

They include bringing forward a target that every eligible adult be offered a booster job by the end of January to the end of December as he launched the “Omicron Emergency Boost.”

The booster vaccination programme had previously been open to over-40s, but the concern over the emergence of the new variant has prompted a rapid extension of the programme.

Now everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the New Year.

He also said the NHS booking system will be opened to over-18s from Wednesday for people in England.

Those announcements have prompted people to query the approach in Wales and raise expectation levels that the same would be applicable here.

North Wales GP Eilir Hughes Tweeted: “Big problem with the media in Wales. We get Boris Johnson on our TV making an announcement that Covid booster jabs will be offered to everyone by end of the year, but this is not the commitment of the Welsh Government (yet). Problem is, the Welsh public now have expectations.”

@SiobhanMoore90 said on Twitter: “It’s annoying that my booster jab is 3 weeks away and I can see people across the border just being able to book theirs online and/or go to walk-ins, really annoying. stupid NHS Wales sticking to old guidance.”

Board of Governors and Chair of Shadow Board of Theatr Clwyd Trust, Tim Manson said on Twitter: “Why are people in Wales not able to book online for their covid booster?”

“Will Wales increase covid restrictions because it cannot get the covid booster rolled out quickly? No online booking system does not help.”

Johnson said: “We have spoken today to the Devolved Administrations, to confirm the UK Government will provide additional support to accelerate vaccinations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Dr Frank Atherton, Wales’ chief medical officer said, “we had a plan in Wales to offer everybody over 18 a booster shot before the end of January.”

“We’re going to try and move that forwards now towards the end of December.”

Dr Atherton said: “Vaccine teams have been working over the weekend looking at the range of options.”

“Were getting more vaccine centres up, getting more walk-in appointments where possible, getting more volunteers in, moving some of the staff who exist in the NHS into this frame of work will be really important. So all of that is in preparation.”

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board issued an update this morning saying: “We are continuing to do everything we can to ramp up our booster programme.”

“While we work on our next steps – we want you to keep to your booster appointment – if you already have one for December. Please do not rearrange it.”

“At this stage – walk in appointments will be limited in terms of availability and location.”

“We will advertise these accordingly. You cannot book an appointment online.”

“Please do not contact your GP or the health board to try and book an appointment.”

“We will keep you regularly updated throughout the week. Thank you for your support and understanding.”

In a statement on Sunday, first minister Mark Drakeford said: “We are learning more about the omicron variant every day.”

“This is a fast-moving form of coronavirus, which has the potential to cause a large wave of infections in Wales. This could lead to large numbers of people needing hospital treatment at a time when our NHS is under significant pressure.”

“Our best defence continues to be vaccination. Emerging evidence shows the booster dose is vital.”

“We are doing everything we can to accelerate our vaccination programme to increase the number of people who will receive their booster in the coming days and weeks. Older people and those at greatest risk are being prioritised at the moment.”

“We are increasing the number of clinics and their opening hours; we have asked all available staff to join vaccination teams to support this national effort.”

“Please make having your booster a priority. It will be one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself against coronavirus and this new variant.”

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