Please note that this newsletter reflects the current position as at 10 March 2021. Planning and delivery of COVID-19 vaccination is subject to considerable change due to many different factors outside of our control. Please check our website for the latest information.
In this edition:
From the end of this week we will see a big ramp up of first dose vaccinations across Wales. This follows an expected period when first dose supplies have been lower than the peak we saw earlier this year. But this has not affected second dose appointments, and now over 10,000 people in the county benefit from double dose protection.
Overall, over 63,000 vaccine doses have been delivered in the county and once again my thanks go to everyone involved.
So where are we now and what are the next steps?
More information about progress and next steps on each of these areas can be found later in this newsletter.
As I mentioned earlier, we will see a big ramp up in vaccination supplies over the next few weeks. This will not be without its challenges. The teams in our mass vaccination centres will be delivering first dose AstraZeneca and second dose Pfizer/BioNTech … and then also beginning second dose AstraZeneca appointments too.
With thousands of vaccinations taking place each week, we will need to use all our capacity to offer people an appointment as quickly as possible. This may mean that your offer of an appointment is not at your nearest mass vaccination centre. We ask that if you CAN take up the offer of an appointment then please DO as this will be your quickest opportunity for an appointment. But we do also recognise that travel may be an issue for you, and our booking hub can help with travel advice and support – including from the amazing network of community transport teams who were featured in our bulletin last week.
We have seen promising signs in recent days and weeks that people’s efforts in following the guidance have helped to reduce the spread of coronavirus in the county. Less than a month ago our 7-day case rate was 120 per 100,000. Today that has reduced to 40 per 100,000. But every case is one too many – particularly with the new, more infectious strains of coronavirus circulating.
I ask everyone – whether you have received your vaccination already, or whether you are looking forward to your invitation – to continue to do all you can to protect yourselves and others from COVID-19. Remember - Hands, Face, Space.
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.
Carol Shillabeer, Chief Executive, Powys Teaching Health Board
We want to ensure that no one is left behind in our vaccination programme. As part of this commitment, Public Health Wales has produced COVID-19 vaccination information in a range of formats to increase accessibility for people across Wales.
Information is available in a wide range of community languages including: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Kurdish Kurmanji, Kurdish Sorani, Lithuanian, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Turkish, Urdu. The resource library also includes Easy Read leaflets, large print formats, and BSL videos.
Visit the Public Health Wales website for the latest library of accessible resources:https://phw.nhs.wales/patientinfo/
The uptake of COVID-19 vaccination by people in Priority Groups 1 to has been truly staggering. Based on the latest data from Public Health Wales, over 95% of people aged 80+ have received their vaccination which is the highest rate for all health boards in Wales. Powys has also seen the highest uptake of people aged 75-79 (95.9%) and the second highest amongst people aged 70-74 (94.7%). Some have not yet received their vaccination for clinical or social reasons, whilst some people will have declined the vaccine. But, if you know someone who has not yet been invited then please let us know so that we can make sure they are invited.
We now have a Priority Access Form for anyone in Priority Groups 1 to 4 who has not yet received their invitation. This helps us to fast-track you to an appointment:
People aged 80 and over who are registered with a GP in Powys: Over 80 in Powys and not received an invitation to vaccination? - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
People aged 75-79 who are registered with a GP in Powys: Age 75 to 79 - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
People aged 70-74 who are registered with a GP in Powys: Age 70 to 74 - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
Adults who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and registered with a GP in Powys: Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Adults - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
An online form is available on our website for anyone aged 65-69 who has not yet received an invitation.
If you know people who live in Powys but are registered with a GP practice outside Powys, then they will be invited for vaccination through the programme in the neighbouring county: Are you registered with a GP outside Powys? - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
Invitations have now concluded for people aged 65-69. These appointments were affected by changes in UK supplies, so please accept our apologies that some appointments are slightly later than we had originally hoped.
If you are aged 65-69 and you have not yet received your invitation then you can use our online form to let us know: Age 65 to 69 - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
Adults with underlying health conditions that are included in the national eligibility criteria are in Priority Group 6 for COVID-19 vaccination. Invitations to eligible adults are continuing through March.
Remember that the national eligibility criteria are very specific – and they are different from the eligibility criteria for seasonal flu.
For example, people with severe asthma will be invited in Priority Group 6, but people with mild to moderate asthma will be invited based on their age group. In line with national guidance, this is because: “Those with severe asthma are at increased risk and included [in Priority Group 6]. Individuals with mild to moderate asthma are not at increased risk and not recommended for vaccination by JCVI [in Priority Group 6].” They will be invited for vaccination with their age group and we aim to vaccinate everyone over the age of 18 by the end of July 2021.
More information is available from our website at https://pthb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/adults-with-underlying-health-conditions/
The location of vaccination for people in this age group will depend on their age:
Later this month we will publish guidance for people who have an underlying health condition that makes them eligible in Priority Group 6 but who did not receive an invitation for COVID-19 vaccination.
Eligibility for prioritisation is not dependant on receipt of carer’s allowance, membership of a carers’ organisation or being known to social services.
You can find our online eligibility tool on our website: https://pthb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/unpaid-carers/
People aged 60-64 are in Priority Groups 7. Invitations to people in this group are beginning to land on doormats, and we currently expect that most people in this group will be offered an appointment during March.
More information is available from our website: Age 60 to 64 - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)
People aged 50-59 are in Priority Groups 8 and 9. Invitations will begin later this month unless you are eligible in an earlier Priority Group (e.g. Underlying Health Conditions).
Everyone in these Priority Groups is due to receive their invitation by mid April. This will begin with people aged 55-59 (Priority Group 8) followed by people aged 50-54 (Priority Group 9). Please be aware that in order to use all appointment slots as efficiently as possible there will be some overlap in invitations between different priority groups.
Keep checking our website for further details: https://pthb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/
Last month the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published its interim advice on vaccination for the rest of the adult population. They advise that vaccination for the rest of the adult population should be prioritised by age.
Making this recommendation the JCVI said:
“There is good evidence that the risks of hospitalisation and critical care admission from COVID-19 increase with age, and that in occupations where the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV2 is potentially higher, persons of older age are also those at highest risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. JCVI therefore advises that the offer of vaccination during phase 2 is age-based starting with the oldest adults first and proceeding in the following order:
"An age-based delivery model will facilitate rapid vaccine deployment.”
In line with UK guidance, we aim to offer vaccination for everyone aged 18-49 by the end of July. Dedicated pages for these three age categories are now also available from our website.
More information about the interim guidance from the JCVI is available from their website: JCVI interim statement on phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
We have already delivered over 10,000 second dose appointments. In line with UK national guidance we need to offer second dose appointments around 11 weeks after the first dose – and in some cases we have been able to offer these sooner.
Second dose vaccination is currently taking place with Pfizer/BioNTech in our mass vaccination centres. Later this month our mass vaccination centres will also begin to offer second dose appointments with AstraZeneca – so if you were one of the first people to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in early January you will receive your invitation soon.
Second dose appointments at our mass vaccination centres are currently with Pfizer/BioNTech*. It is vital that you attend your second dose appointment. Please attend at your booked appointment time wherever possible.
If you cannot attend at your booked appointment time then let us know as soon as possible (e.g. if you are unwell, or have been advised that you cannot have your second dose just now because of COVID in your workplace).
If you let us know that you cannot come, we are normally able to offer your appointment to someone else - if you do not let us know, there is more chance the dose could be wasted.
It is vital that no doses of Pfizer/BioNTech go to waste.
This is because there are limited supplies of Pfizer/BioNTech available.
We need to make sure we have enough vaccine to give a Pfizer/BioNTech second dose to everyone who received a Pfizer/BioNTech first dose.
No. We cannot offer second dose appointments to people waiting for their first dose.
This is because Pfizer/BioNTech is currently available for second dose appointments only**. If we gave you a first dose we would not be able to offer you a second dose in 11 weeks’ time with the same vaccine.
If you received your first dose vaccination on or before 3 January and have not yet received your invitation for a second dose please use our Priority Access Form to let us know.
*There are a very small number of clinical exceptions where some of the first patients to receive AstraZeneca are receiving their second dose vaccination, but please be aware that this is not currently routinely available.
** There are a small number of clinical exceptions for people aged 16-17 to receive Pfizer/BioNTech for a first dose appointment.
You can help shape the future of health services for the people of Powys:
Have your say on proposals for the future shape of vascular services in south east Wales (closes 16 April 2021) – these proposals mainly affect communities who access their acute hospital services in Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil:
Share your experiences of mental health services with Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (closes 16 April 2021):
Share your experiences of cancer diagnosis, treatment and care to help with Improving the Cancer Journey in Powys:
We have lots of great opportunities for people to join our team here at Powys Teaching Health Board:
Please help spread the word about our latest vacancies,
More information about our COVID-19 vaccination programme here in Powys is available from the Powys Teaching Health Board website:
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 – please remember that PTHB has the smallest population of all health boards, and is around a third of the size of the next smallest health boards (Cwm Taf Morgannwg, Hywel Dda):
More information about the Welsh Government’s strategy for COVID-19 vaccination: