Provides updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme up to 2 March 2021.
Our National Vaccination Strategy was published on 11 January and is based on the detailed planning NHS Wales had been doing. Our strategy is focused on 3 key areas:
- Our priorities – we continue to work closely with the UK Government on supply. Based on what we know about supply and the priority cohorts set by the JCVI, we have set key milestones.
- Our vaccination infrastructure – making sure that people can access their vaccination offer - the places to go to get vaccinated, people to give the vaccination and the appointment and digital recording and reporting system set up.
- Keeping up to date and informed about the vaccination programme – we are committed to providing information to keep everyone in Wales updated about the vaccination programme.
An Update to our National Strategy was published on 26 February 2021 to reflect on progress and provide further information about our current and future priorities.
Who is currently getting vaccinated?
Our priority list of people to receive the vaccine has been agreed by endorsing the UK’s independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The same priority list is being followed by all four nations in the UK and has the support of all 4 Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) within the UK.
Our first priority was to offer the vaccine to priority groups 1–4. This included all older person care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; those 70 years of age and over; and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals. We said that, subject to supply, it was our ambition to do this by mid-February. That target was met.
These first groups are now beginning to be offered their second dose of the vaccine, which is important for longer term protection.
We are now vaccinating the next set of priority groups:
- everyone aged 50 to 69
- everyone aged over 16 with an underlying health condition which puts them at increased risk of serious illness with COVID-19, including some people with learning disabilities and with severe mental illness
- unpaid carers who provide care for someone who is clinically vulnerable to COVID-19
Subject to supply, our aim is to offer the vaccine to everyone in these groups by the middle of April.
On Saturday 27 February, we exceeded the one million vaccinations mark. Taking into account both first and second doses, we had administered 1,005,389 vaccinations. Over 38% of Wales’ adult population had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
So far more than 930,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine in Wales; and over 111,000 have received their full course of vaccine.
Where are vaccinations taking place?
We have been building an infrastructure from the ground up. The delivery model is a blended model. This is aimed at providing a mix of sites in order to maximise speed of roll out, ensure safety, meet the needs of the characteristics of the vaccines, be as conveniently located as possible and, importantly make sure we give equitable access across the country and all communities.
The UK has seen a reduced level of vaccine supply over recent weeks. This was planned and expected and our infrastructure has flexed to meet the supply level. During the past week vaccinations were being administered in 492 locations across Wales, including:
- 36 mass vaccination centres
- 377 general practice locations
- 35 hospital locations
- there were 37 mobile teams operating
Achievement of markers and milestones
In our Strategy, we outlined 3 markers to deliver as part of our journey to achieving milestone 1 by mid-February:
Marker 1 was to have offered a first dose of the vaccine to all frontline Welsh Ambulance Trust staff by 18 January. This has been achieved.
Marker 2 was to have offered the vaccine to all older person care home residents and staff by the end of January. This has been achieved.
Marker 3 was to have 250 GP practices deploying the vaccine by the end of January. This was achieved and exceeded ahead of the target date for the marker.
Milestone 1 in our strategy was to have:
- offered the vaccine to all individuals in cohorts 1–4 by mid February. That includes all older person care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; those 70 years of age and over; and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
We confirmed on Friday 12 February that we had achieved this milestone. All those in these first 4 priority groups have been offered the vaccine and over 85% have now received their first dose. Up-take is over 90% for some groups, including those aged over 80.
Upcoming markers and milestones
The Update to our Strategy provides further details on our current and future priorities. Our current priority is milestone 2 in our strategy. We have said that it is our aim to offer everyone in the current priority groups their first dose of the vaccine by the middle of April. Our original aim was to do this by the end of April, but with the bringing forward of vaccine supply allocations, we have been able to also bring forward our target date.
The Update to our Strategy also provides further information on phase 2 of our programme, milestone 3 in our Strategy. We have confirmed that our programme will continue to follow an age-based prioritisation approach. This is because age remains the greatest risk factor and using age, rather than some other prioritisation approach, will enable the continuation of the pace and progress we have seen so far in roll-out. All 4 nations of the UK will proceed on this basis.
Once all those in the current priority groups have been offered their first dose of the vaccine, NHS Wales will move on to those aged 40-49. We have said that it is our aim to offer all eligible adults in Wales the vaccine by the end of July.
As well as publishing an update to our National Strategy last week, we also published two important pieces of guidance on the eligibility, identification and support of many unpaid carers and people with learning disabilities and severe mental illness that will be prioritised for vaccination.
Section 4 in our Strategy Update provides further information on the research emerging on the effectiveness of the vaccines. This research is really positive, but there is still a lot more we need to learn.
Public Health Wales is publishing daily and weekly surveillance data releases.
Welsh Government statisticians are also publishing some of the more operational statistics attached to the programme each week.