By Zoe Kramer | Head of News
Three COVID-19 vaccines mass testing sites have been confirmed for the Cardiff area.
The testing sites will be located in Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre in Splott, as well as Pentwyn Leisure Centre and Holm View Leisure Centre in Barry.
The vaccine in question is the Pfizer model, which has been approved by the MHRA and supposedly offers up to 95% protection against the virus. The UK will be the first country to roll out the vaccine.
The health board has confirmed that social care workers and care homes will be prioritised during the first stages of the COVID-19 vaccines roll out. Around 265,000 individuals will be elligible for the vaccine during this stage, as determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This roll-out will take an estimated 9-12 months to be fully executed. Priority groups will be identified by the JCVI and asked to book an appointment. The vaccine is expected to involve two doses administered 28 days apart.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said on Wednesday: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.
“This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
The order in which the vaccine is administered is expected to go as follows: Older adults in nursing homes and care home workers; individuals 80+ years of age and health and social care workers; individuals 75+ years of age; individuals 70+ years of age; individuals 65+ years of age; high-risk adults under 65 years of age; moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age; individuals 60+ years of age; individuals 55+ years of age; individuals 50+ years of age; the rest of the population.
The Splott centre is expected to begin administering the vaccines this month, while the Pentwyn and Barry centres are expected to begin during January. Once operational, the centres will be open seven days a week.
Fiona Kinghorn, Director of Public Health at Cardiff and Vale UHB, said:
“Covid-19 has been a big part of our lives over the last year and this is promising news that we are now in a position to deliver a vaccination when it becomes available.
“A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to identify suitable venues, recruit staff, set up a booking line and implement processes for the storage and transportation of the vaccination to get us ready to protect the population of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
“While the vaccination programme will take time it is important that we all still adhere to the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance and ensure we are social distancing, washing our hands regularly and wearing face coverings in public places to limit the spread of the virus.”
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, first Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Last week, the NHS in Wales carried out a large and successful test of all the practical things, which will need to be in place once a vaccine is given the go-ahead.
He added that this “could be as early as this week and we will be ready for it”.