By Luthien Evans | News Editor
The start of the Welsh vaccine rollout has begun. This is following announcements that the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine was approved by UK regulators. However, the Health Minister Vaughan Gething said that ‘it may take months before some people were able to receive the vaccine’.
The initial doses and rollout will be administered to those in the over-80 category and front-line NHS staff first. It has been confirmed by the Welsh Government that the initial intake of vaccines will total to 40,000 doses, this will allow nearly 20,000 people to be vaccinated.
On Monday 7 December, the vaccine was delivered to Wales’ seven health boards. A Welsh Government spokesperson has stated ‘”It is expected nearly 1,000 doses will be administered in the first phase by each of the seven health boards in Wales by the end of the weekend. This will take place at one vaccination centre in each of the seven health boards, mostly in hospitals.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated that there is no need to apply for the vaccine ‘ the NHS would be in touch with those eligible’ and further added ‘please step forward for your country’.
This announcement comes a day after Wales reported 2000 COVID cases in a single day.
The first vaccination in Wales was given to care home worker Craig Atkins, 48, at the vaccination site in Cwmbran.
The health board are planning to set up mass vaccination centres in the Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre in Splott, Pentwyn Leisure Centre in north Cardiff and Holm View Leisure Centre in Barry. The Splott centre will have 20 vaccine stations available. Mobile teams will work to reach more vulnerable people, such as those in care homes.
Gething has also stated that: ‘The Welsh Immunisation System has been developed in Wales and can create appointments and automatically schedule second doses, send appointment letters and record vaccinations for every Covid-19 vaccine given.’
The order of those to be vaccinated will be provided by the Welsh Government who are following the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Following the vaccination, a card will be given to the person with details of the vaccine, the date and the batch numbers. It will also have a reminder for the second appointment, which is needed with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The Welsh Government have branded these as a ‘NHS immunisation card’.