Please note that this newsletter reflects the current position as at 17 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.
Our vaccination programme has now exceeded 70,000 doses in Powys, and 15,000 people have received double dose protection. With big supplies of first dose vaccines reaching the county this week and next, we should also see a big rise in that first dose figure by the end of March.
This week sees a big focus on vaccination for people in Priority Group 6 (underlying health conditions, unpaid carers) and Priority Group 7 (aged 60 to 64). This also includes a reserve list for people in Priority Groups 7 and 8 who are able to attend one of our mass vaccination centres at short notice.
We also have a lot of second dose vaccinations to deliver this week. Already over half of people in Priority Groups 1 and 2 have received their second dose, and we currently have the highest rates in Wales for double dose protection.
Here in Powys we have been closely following the national priority order in our invitations. In a vaccination programme of this scale there will always be some overlap, but I hope people will find it reassuring to see such high rates of vaccination in Priority Groups 5 and 6, as we now begin invitations to Priority Group 7.
I remain truly thankful to everyone who has taken up the offer of vaccination. And also to our teams who every day are making those green and blue bars even bigger. Over two thirds of people in Priority Groups 1-9 have already received the first dose, and we are approaching one in five people who have double dose protection. Together these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.
I know that a key issue on people’s minds will be the AstraZeneca vaccine. Here in the UK we have evidence from many millions of vaccines that gives us great confidence, and a strong clinical consensus across the UK continues to support and encourage everyone to take by their vaccine appointment.
My colleague Dr Gill Richardson is the Welsh Government’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer and is leading the Wales’ Covid-19 Vaccination Programme. She says: “In Wales – as in the rest of the UK – we strongly advise people should continue to get their Covid-19 vaccine when they are invited to do so, and we’re pleased to see thousands of people in Wales are continuing to come forward for their vaccine every day. We saw a record day for vaccinations over the weekend, with more than 40,000 vaccines reported as administered in Saturday’s data - that’s more than 1% of the Welsh population vaccinated in one day.
“The independent regulator in the UK, the MHRA, has said the number of blood clots among the many millions of people who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine is no higher than would be expected in any population group of this size. The World Health Organisation has also urged countries to continue administering the vaccine, saying there are no indications it is linked to blood clots.
People’s safety will always come first. We will continue to monitor vaccine safety and protect people against this deadly virus. Safety has always been right at the heart of the vaccination programme in the UK, and we continue to courage everyone to report any suspicion or concern they have beyond the known, mild side effects on the Coronavirus Yellow Card site. This is available at https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
Whilst some restrictions are beginning to be lifted, it is important to remember that we remain at Alert Level 4 in Wales. Coronavirus continues to circulate. There is good evidence that the vaccine prevents serious illness from COVID-19, 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 remain vital messages to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
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 1-5 continues to climb. Over 95% of people aged 70+ have received their vaccination, and we have also reached 93% of people aged 65-69. 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 5 who has not yet received their invitation. This helps us to fast-track you to an appointment:
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:
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 – and 60% of people in this group have already received their first dose.
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.
If you are an unpaid carer and you have registered with your GP Practice on their Carers Register then you will be invited for vaccination.
If you have not registered with your GP Practice as a carer then you can use our online tool to check your eligibility and request a vaccination. You will be invited to a mass vaccination centre.
Eligibility 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 Group 7. Invitations to people in this group are continuing to land on doormats, and we currently expect that most people in this group will be offered an appointment during March at a mass vaccination centre.
People aged 60-64 are being invited to mass vaccination centres for their appointment. Please wait for your invitation (unless you choose to complete our reserve list form). Please do not contact your GP practice.
In order to use our appointment capacity as efficiently as possible, and to offer everyone an appointment as soon as possible, your invitation may not be to your nearest mass vaccination centre. If you CAN take up the appointment we offer you please DO as this will be your quickest option for vaccination and will help us vaccinate as many people as possible.
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 are beginning to be issued and will continue over the next few weeks.
Everyone in these Priority Groups is due to receive their invitation by mid April and will be invited to a mass vaccination centre. This will begin with people aged 55-59 (Priority Group 8) followed by 50-54 (Priority Group 9).
People aged 55-59 can also join our SECONDARY reserve list at Age 55 to 59 - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales).
Thank you for your patience until your invitation arrives – and as you are due to be invited to a mass vaccination centre we kindly ask that you do not contact your GP practice about appointments.
Keep checking our website for further details: https://pthb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/
In line with national guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, vaccination for the rest of the adult population will take place by age.
Phase 2 will begin from late April and continue to the end of July, with the oldest remaining adults first and proceeding in the following order:
More information about the 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 15,000 second doses in Powys. In line with UK national guidance we 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 vaccination is also under way for care home residents who received their first dose vaccination in early January through our outreach programme.
Already, over half of people in Priority Groups 1 and 2 have received double dose protection. This includes residents of care homes for older adults, care home workers, frontline health and care workers, and people aged 80 and over.
More information about second dose appointments is available from our website at https://pthb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/second-dose-appointments/
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.
Previous editions of our newsletter are available from our website. Last week’s edition included:
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: