Health Minister Vaughan Gething image

The Welsh Government has outlined its ambitious COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which aims to have all frontline health and social care workers vaccinated by mid-February and all eligible adults vaccinated by autumn.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething published the COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy on 11th of January, which sets out three key milestones regarding when it hopes to have the population vaccinated by.

It comes as the latest government statistics indicate that over 86,000 people have received the vaccine across Wales.

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Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Covid vaccines offer our best hope of a return to the normality we are looking forward to after such a difficult year, which has turned all our lives upside down.

“Delivering this vaccination programme to the people in Wales is a huge task but an enormous amount of work is going on to make it a success. We are making good progress with thousands more people being vaccinated every day.

“Over the coming week we will see the programme pick up further speed with more clinics opening and the first vaccines to be given by pharmacists.”

The strategy’s three key milestones are:

  • By mid-February – all care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; everyone over 70 and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable will have been offered vaccination.
  • By the spring – vaccination will have been offered to all the other phase one priority groups. This is everyone over 50 and everyone who is at-risk because they have an underlying health condition.
  • By the autumn – vaccination will have been offered to all other eligible adults in Wales, in line with any guidance issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

In total, around 2.5 million people throughout Wales could be offered coronavirus vaccines by September, depending on further advice from the JCVI.

The strategy depends on sufficient and regular supplies of the vaccines being delivered. It will be kept under review in line with supply of the vaccine.

To reach as many people as safely and as quickly as possible, the Welsh Government has confirmed that it will continue to accelerate the vaccination programme as more supplies of the two vaccines become available.

This includes increasing the number of vaccination centres in Wales to 35 in the coming weeks, with at least one in county, and military support in the centres to jab as many people as possible. The Welsh Government adds that 100 GP practices will provide clinics by the end of this week.

Dr Gillian Richardson, who leads the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Wales, said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme Wales has ever seen and the NHS is working incredibly hard to get the vaccine to as many people as possible, safely and as quickly as we can.

“People will be invited to come and have a vaccination at a clinic close to their home or at one of the mass vaccination centres. I know everyone is really keen to get their jab but please wait until you are contacted for your turn.

“Vaccination will give us a path out of this pandemic but it will take us a little while to protect all the people in Wales who need it – this is why it’s so important everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their families from coronavirus.”

The vaccination programme will continue to be accelerated by text message appointment reminders; pharmacies providing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will start vaccinating in North Wales in the next week; and 14 mobile units, run by community nurses, which are taking the vaccine to care homes, the government adds.

In England, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) recently outlined guidance prioritising frontline health and social care workers in the country’s vaccine rollout programme. It aims to ensure maximum uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner with equitable access across staff groups.

To start vaccinating health and social care workers, NHSEI that by mid-January, all NHS Trusts will be established as “hospital hubs” and the default provider of COVID-19 vaccinations for these staff members.

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