Posted: Fri 28th May 2021

Vaccination levels are ‘strong’ in North Wales as Welsh Government keeps eye on Indian variant

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 28th, 2021

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford appears confident that high vaccination take-up could help protect against any rise in the Indian variant of coronavirus, however did note it ‘isn’t quite as effective’.

During the first and second waves of the pandemic the technical advice to Welsh Government noted how the virus spread from an east to west from England, and south to north internally in Wales.

With recent concerns over the so-called Indian variant, Ministers have detailed how ‘one of the big pockets of the Indian variant is once again in the north-west of England, and that border is so porous between the northeast of Wales and north west of England’, when discussing possible concerns.

Yesterday with the First Minister in North Wales, he was asked by sister site Wrexham.com what the latest advice he has seen has told him about the issue, and what the uptake figures for the vaccine means as a form of protection for the area.

The First Minister said, “The advice on the vaccine is probably getting a bit more positive, in the sense that we know it does offer a level of protection against the new Indian variant, not as much as the vaccine is effective against the Kent variant, which is the dominant variant still in Wales.”

“The good news is that our vaccination levels are already so strong, that we’ve got a significant level of protection against any inflow of the Indian variant, over 50% of people in their 20s are vaccinated, already over two thirds of people in their 30s, over 75% of people in their 40s.

“We are significantly ahead of the other parts of the United Kingdom in offering the first dose of the vaccine.”

“In amongst the most vulnerable populations, people in their 70s and 80s and people living in care homes, over 90% have had a first and a second dose of the vaccine as well.

“So the vaccine isn’t quite as effective against the Indian variant, and we have got to watch that very carefully. But, the success of the vaccine program in Wales means that it will be playing a significant part, even against that new variant.”

Earlier this week Welsh Government noted the UK Government’s guidance for people living in the eight areas where the India variant of concern is circulating, and that it advises against non-essential travel and for regular testing.

In a statement they noted, “We are not introducing any legal restrictions on travel within the UK at this point but it is our clear advice that people should not travel to areas with high prevalence of coronavirus if they can avoid it. This includes Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside where the India variant of concern is circulating. There is an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, even if vaccinated, in those areas so you should avoid travelling to these areas if possible.”

“As we approach the late Spring bank holiday and the half-term break, our tourism businesses will be looking forward to a busy week and the start of the summer season.”

“We would urge anyone planning a break in Wales from an area with higher rates of coronavirus, to test themselves twice weekly, using the free Covid-19 lateral flow tests, before they travel. Only those who have a negative test result and no symptoms of coronavirus should travel.”

“Everyone coming to Wales from areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus should bring lateral flow testing kits with them to continue regular testing while on holiday – this is an additional measure to help keep Wales safe. Lateral flow testing kits are also available in Wales from local collection points.”

Top picture: First Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday in Llangollen

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