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COVID-19 Vaccination Newsletter 1 November 2021 (html version)

Dear Colleagues

This continues to be a very busy period for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Powys. Over 25,000 booster doses have already been delivered, and all “first offer” appointments for 12-15 year olds have taken place with an uptake of around 60%.

Here are the current headlines, and you can find more information about each of these issues later in this bulletin:

  1. Booster appointments are under way. Your invitation will normally be from the health board, and will be no earlier than six months after your second dose. In practice it will normally be around six to seven months after your second. If your second dose was before 21 March and you have not received your invitation letter we have a priority access form to let us know.
  2. Everyone aged 12-15 registered with a GP in Powys should have received their invitation. “First offer” appointments have taken place. If you did not receive an invitation, or were not able to take up your first offer then please drop-in sessions are available.
  3. First and second dose appointments are continuing, and you can use our regular drop-in clinics if you have not already taken up the invitation.
  4. Welsh Government has announced plans to further extend the COVID Pass. Remember that it will take at least two months for your COVID Pass to be “double dosed” so it is important to plan ahead.
  5. Third primary doses are recommended for certain individuals who had severe immunosuppression in proximity to their first or second dose. A clinical review has taken place across Wales and people in this group in Powys who don’t receive an invitation letter by 10 November can use our online form to let us know.
  6. COVID-19 infection in pregnancy carries a significant risk of hospital admission and a higher risk of severe illness than for the non-pregnant population. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you can attend our drop-in clinics, or talk to your Powys midwife to find out more about COVID-19 vaccination.
  7. Our next online Q&A session is taking place on 16 November to answer your questions about COVID-19 in Powys.
  8. Please be aware that our booking telephone number will be changing as we upgrade our telephone system. Appointment letters will be updated with the new number, and the old number will have a recorded message explaining the new arrangements.
  9. Coronavirus continues to circulate in Powys. Remember … Hands Face Space Fresh Air and Get Tested to Keep Powys Safe.
  10. You can continue to find all the latest information about COVID-19 vaccination on our website at pthb.nhs.wales/covid-vaccine

How are we doing in Powys?

Powys continues to have the highest first and second dose vaccination rates of all health boards in Wales. 91.1% of people aged 18+ have had their first dose (Wales average = 87.2%) and 88.9% receiving their second dose (Wales average = 84.0%).

We also have the highest vaccination rates in Wales for 16-17 year olds, with 82.5% of this age group receiving their first dose (Wales average = 74.3%). Around 60% of 12-15 year olds have also taken up their first dose.

We have now reached 25,000 booster doses in Powys, including nearly 7000 people aged 80+ in the county.

Thank you to everyone who continues to make this possible. We have extended our lease with Maldwyn Leisure Centre until the end of the year. We are also working closely in partnership with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society to temporarily close the vaccination centre in the Showground for two weeks for the Winter Fair. This is such a key event for the festive, cultural and economic life of the county, and it is vital that we support its success after it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Coronavirus continues to circulate. Confirmed coronavirus case rates in continue to be at their highest levels since the pandemic began. There is good evidence that two doses of the vaccine prevent serious illness from COVID-19, and that a booster helps to maintain that protection, but we all need to assume that we can catch the virus and transmit it even if we have had the vaccine. Case rates are particularly high amongst teenagers right now.

In recognition of the serious situation, the First Minister announced strengthened measures to reduce high coronavirus cases in this three-weekly review on Friday.

Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air remain vital messages to protect ourselves and our loved ones. If you have symptoms, get a test. Lateral flow devices are available if you do not have symptoms. More information about testing in Powys is available from our website.

Thank you for everything you are doing to Keep Powys Safe – and please do feel free to share this information in your organisations, networks and communities.


1. Booster Programme continues

Our booster programme is well under way. 25,000 booster doses have already been given in the county. This includes over 1000 vaccine doses in care homes and domiciliary settings (e.g. people who are clinically housebound).

In line with national guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation we will be offering a booster dose to:

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, and adult carers
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

Booster doses should be offered no earlier than six months after your second dose.

This means that you should normally expect to receive your invitation for a booster dose between six to seven months after your second dose.

If your second dose was on or before 21 March and you have not received your invitation you can use our Priority Access Form to let us know. This form can also be used if you have moved INTO an eligible group since your second dose (for example, you have become a frontline health or care worker).

If you were in an eligible group at the time of your second dose but this is no longer the case (e.g. if you have stopped working in frontline health and care). You may still receive an invitation, in which case you should contact us to cancel this so that we can update our records.

We also have a Reserve List available to help us use open vials at the end of a clinic, and fill any DNA slots (although it is fair to say that we are not getting many of those at the moment).

Booster doses are normally by invitation to a mass vaccination centre, so please do look out for your invitation letter.

More information about our booster programme is available from our website, where you can also find details of our reserve list:

Booster Programme

Reserve List for Booster Dose Appointments

Priority Access Form for Booster Dose Appointments


1.1 Vaccination Centres in Powys

Booster doses in Powys are offered with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This vaccine is more difficult to store and transport than other vaccines used for the first and second dose programme (e.g. AstraZeneca). Vaccination centres also need enough space for people to sit and wait for 15 minutes after the vaccination – including allowing for social distancing.

This does mean that our mass vaccination centres continue to be absolutely vital for our vaccination programme. We know that using this vaccine in primary care settings can be quite challenging due to the storage and transport requirements, the space needed, and the current demands on GP practices for all the other vital services they provide. Not all GP practices will be able to offer the COVID-19 booster this Autumn. The following practices will be inviting their registered patients aged 80 and over: Welshpool, Rhayader and Presteigne (Presteigne are vaccinating in Knighton and will be offering the vaccine to Presteigne and Knighton registered patients aged 80 and over). Our community nursing teams are also busy offering vaccination in care homes and to people who are clinically housebound.

This does mean that most people will need to attend a Mass Vaccination Centre wherever possible. This is the best way to get your booster as soon as possible. There is lots of useful information about our Mass Vaccination Centres on our website, including advice on travel and transport. We continue to be very grateful to family, friends, neighbours, voluntary groups and the wide range of community support (including the amazing Community Transport organisations) to help people attend a Mass Vaccination Centre appointment:

Information about Mass Vaccination Centres


2. COVID-19 Vaccination for 12-15 year olds

Since our last edition, we have completed our “first offer” of COVID-19 vaccination to all 12-15 year olds registered with a Powys GP.

Around 60% of this age group have already taken up the offer, helped by additional drop-in clinics during the recent half term week. As mentioned above, COVID cases are high in this age group at the moment. This has meant that some people have not been able to attend because they currently have COVID symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 28 days. We therefore plan to continue to offer drop-in sessions in the weeks ahead for people who haven’t been able to attend so far.

COVID-19 Vaccination for people age 12 to 15

Drop-in Clinics

People aged 12-15 will normally be offered a single dose unless they have certain conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.  Second doses will normally be offered around eight weeks after first doses.


3. First and Second Dose Drop-In Sessions

COVID-19 vaccination remains available for everyone aged 16 and over at our regular drop-in clinics. These are advertised through our social media channels, and the latest information is also available from our website.

Drop-In Clinics

You can also use our Priority Access Form to get in touch about second dose appointments:

pthb.nhs.wales/find/priority-access

All of our drop-in appointments are currently with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine so please do use our Priority Access Form if you need an alternative vaccine (e.g. because you have been advised by a clinician that you are allergic to Pfizer/BioNTech).

Our drop-in sessions are open to anyone aged 16 and over for a first dose, and anyone aged 18+ for a second dose if your first dose was more than ten weeks ago.


4. COVID Pass

Welsh Government has announced plans to further extend the of the COVID Pass to include settings such as nightclubs and large outdoor events. The COVID Pass already allows you to prove your vaccination status when travelling abroad.

Most questions about the COVID Pass should be directed to Welsh Government, or to your travel operator. We are able to help with specific enquiries if your vaccination in Powys is not showing on your COVID Pass. Please do wait at least five days after your vaccination for it to appear on your COVID Pass.

This means that if you receive your first dose now, your COVID Pass will show that you are double dosed in early January. This is because it will be eight weeks until your second dose and then can take a few days for your dose to appear on your COVID Pass.

You can find out more about the COVID Pass from the Welsh Government website:

Get the COVID Pass to show your vaccination status

If your vaccination in Powys is not showing on your COVID Pass and it is more than five days since your vaccination, please contact us:

COVID Pass Information from PTHB

We regret that we are not able to add vaccinations that have taken place overseas to your COVID Pass. We are only able to check your Welsh Immunisation Record in relation to vaccinations administered in Powys.


5. Severe Immunosuppression

If you had a severely weakened immune system due to an underlying health condition or medical treatment at the time of your first or second dose you may not have made a good immune response to COVID-19.

We will offer you a third primary dose of the vaccine if you are aged 12 years and over and had severe immunosuppression at the time of your first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccination.

The third dose will improve your levels of immunity to give you better protection. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has not yet made recommendations on whether a booster vaccination may also be needed at a later date.

A process of clinical review has been taking place across the country. If you are in this category and do not receive an invitation letter for a third primary dose by 10 November we have an online self-referral form to let us know.

You can find out more about third primary doses from our website:

Third Primary Dose appointments


6. COVID-19 Vaccination and Pregnancy

COVID-19 infection in pregnancy carries a significant risk of hospital admission and a higher risk of severe illness than for the non-pregnant population – especially so in the third trimester. Across the country we are seeing that pregnant mothers are among week-on-week increases in the numbers of hospital admissions for COVID-19, linked with rising infection rates.

Our Drop-In Clinics are here for you if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and would like your COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk to your Powys Midwife about the options available to you.

More information is available from our website. This includes links to specialist advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

Vaccination & Pregnancy


7. Online Q&A Session with Carol Shillabeer
5.30pm-6.30pm, Tuesday 16 November 2021

Our next online Q&A session with Carol Shillabeer will take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday 16 November.

How do I join?

You can join the session from most web browsers by clicking on this link.

When do I join?

You are welcome to join just before 5.30pm by clicking on the link above. The meeting will start shortly after 5.30pm to allow people time to join.

How do I participate?

This event will be provided through Microsoft Teams Live Event. It includes a Q&A function which allows you to ask questions. We regret that we may not have time to answer all the questions raised, but hope that the briefing will provide an opportunity to cover the main themes.

I am having trouble joining

The briefing will be recorded so that it is available for people who have trouble joining, or who are not available to join us at 5.30pm.

More information about being an attendee of a Microsoft Teams Live Event is available from the Microsoft website

I cannot attend – will I still be able to watch?

If you cannot attend on the day, you can watch the event at any time using the web link.

Where can I watch the briefing on 13 October?

Our last briefing on 13 October is available to watch on our YouTube channel.


8. Upgrading our COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Hub

The telephone system for our booking hub is changing soon.

Your appointment letter will include a new 01874 telephone number for our booking hub.

Our previous 0345 telephone number will provide a recorded message with our new contact details.

Why is the number changing?

We need to move to a new telephone system for our booking hub. Unfortunately it has not been possible to keep the same 0345 telephone number for enquiries A new 01874 telephone number has put in place.

What happens if I received my appointment letter before the change and it includes the 0345 number?

Our previous 0345 telephone number will provide a recorded message with our new contact details.

When is it happening?

The date is to be confirmed. It is dependent on final readiness checks. Look out for more details soon.


9. Self Isolate and Get A Test if you have symptoms

Coronavirus is still circulating. We continue to see the highest ever confirmed case rates in the county.

There is good evidence that two doses of the vaccine prevents serious illness from COVID-19 – and that a booster dose helps to maintain this protection. But, we all need to assume that we can catch the virus and transmit it even if we have had the vaccine.

Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air remain vital messages to protect ourselves and our loved ones. If you have symptoms, get a test.

More information about Coronavirus Testing in Powys is available from the Powys Teaching Health Board website at https://pthb.nhs.wales/find/ttp


10. Job Opportunities

We have lots of great opportunities to join our team here at Powys Teaching Health Board. This includes opportunities to join our Test Trace Protect and Vaccination Teams. You can find all our current opportunities on our website:

Please help spread the word about our latest vacancies.


11. Latest information on COVID-19 Vaccination in Powys

You can find all the latest information about COVID-19 vaccination on our website.

Latest information on COVID-19 Vaccination in Wales

More information about the national COVID-19 vaccination programme in Wales is available from the Public Health Wales website:

The latest information about the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses delivered in Wales is available from the Public Health Wales dashboard:

More information about the Welsh Government’s strategy for COVID-19 vaccination:

 

 

 

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