Provides updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme up to 26 January 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.
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 current priority is to offer a first dose of the vaccine to priority groups 1–4. This will include all care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; those 70 years of age and over; and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals. Subject to supply, we have said that it is our ambition to do this by mid-February.
So far almost 290,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine in Wales. More people have now been vaccinated since the beginning of December, than have tested positive for coronavirus in Wales over the course of the pandemic.
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. This model is also intended to get the vaccines into our care homes and to our older populations as soon as possible.
Last week we saw the introduction of Community Vaccination Centres (CVCs) to the delivery model. CVCs will bring together a range of primary care practitioners, including dentists and optometrists, offering a solution within local communities but with the capacity for greater scale than GP practices alone.
During the past week we have seen further expansion in our infrastructure, including:
- an increase in mass vaccination centres to 30, alongside the use of 17 acute and community hospital sites
- GP practices offering the vaccine increase to over 300, exceeding the 250 practices by the end of January committed to in our Strategy
- doses of vaccine delivered to health boards increase again, to around 150,000
- the introduction of clusters of GP practices coming together to run vaccination clinics in the heart of communities, particularly in rural areas including on the Llyn Peninsula
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. With more than 65% of frontline staff having taken up the offer of the vaccine to-date.
We are on the way towards achieving our first milestone.
This difference between all frontline Welsh Ambulance Trust staff having been offered the vaccine, and so far 65% having received their first dose is an important point. Vaccination is not mandatory, therefore, it is possible we may not reach 100% of every cohort because some people will choose not to have the vaccine. We are focused on building confidence in vaccine uptake through our communications strategy. Another important consideration, especially with frontline health and care staff, is their availability to attend an appointment. We know, for example, that some paramedics have not been able to attend a vaccine appointment yet because of their shift pattern or because they are currently self-isolating. Our strategy sets milestones based on vaccines being offered, because this is what we can control and aim for.
In the last week we have also achieved Marker 3 in our strategy. The strategy sets the ambition to have 250 GP practices deploying the vaccine by the end of January. Over 300 GP practices were involved in delivery of the vaccine last week, meaning we have exceeded our aim and done so earlier than outlined in the strategy.
Our approach encompasses all primary care professionals, including dentists, optometrists and pharmacists, in delivery of the vaccine. This includes a Community Pharmacy pilot, Community Vaccination Centres and, from last weekend, clusters of GP practices running clinics in local communities. The 3 GP cluster clinics that ran last weekend were estimated to have administered 3,000 vaccines over the weekend, many of these to the priority over 80s group.
Upcoming markers and milestones
The next Marker in our strategy is due to be met by the end of January and we are making good progress.
It is to have:
- offered the vaccine to all care home residents and staff
We are currently vaccinating, on average, around 1,000 care home residents a day. Over 11,000 care homes residents, which is about 67% of this priority group, have now received their first dose of the vaccine.
This progress, and the continuing building of our infrastructure, gives us confidence that we are on track to achieve our first milestone by mid-February.
We have begun publishing more data on vaccinations over recent weeks. Public Health Wales is now publishing a daily surveillance data release. This presents overall number of vaccinations (both first and second doses); as well as breakdowns of some priority groups, currently including those aged over 80, those resident in a care home, care home workers and health care workers. Further breakdowns will be added as we move through the cohorts.
Public Health Wales is also publishing a weekly report which breaks down the data to health board level. This is published each Thursday.
From today, Welsh Government statisticians will begin a regular publication of some of the more operational statistics attached to the programme. The first of these publications was released today and this publication will be weekly from now on. Data on wastage is included as part of this publication. We had also intended to publish data on vaccine stock, however we have been asked by the UK Government not to do so because of the current commercial sensitivities. We are working across the 4 nations to reach an agreed position on the publication of stock information and will provide an update when we are in a position to do so.