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COVID-19 Vaccination Newsletter 2 October 2021 (html version)

Dear Colleagues

We are moving into a very busy period for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Powys. Our booster programme has begun, vaccination for 12-15 year olds starts this week, and we continue to offer first and second doses for people who have not yet taken up their invitation.

  • Booster appointments are under way, and you should expect to receive your invitation letter between 6 to 8 months after your second dose if you are in an eligible group.
  • Appointments are under way for people aged 12-15 and you should receive your invitation by the end of October.
  • 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.
  • Welsh Government has announced plans to extend the NHS COVID Pass. Remember that it will take at least two months for your NHS COVID Pass to be “double dosed” so it is important to plan ahead.
  • 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.
  • Our next online Q&A session is taking place on 13 October to answer your questions about COVID-19 in Powys.
  • Coronavirus continues to circulate in Powys. Remember … Hands Face Space Fresh Air and Get Tested to Keep Powys Safe.
  • 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% of people aged 18+ have had their first dose (Wales average = 87%) and 88.6% receiving their second dose (Wales average = 83.5%).

We also have the highest vaccination rates in Wales for 16 & 17 year olds, with 80% of this age group receiving their first dose (Wales average = 71%)

And, even though we are just a few days into the booster programme we have already given booster doses to over 6200 people, including 3600 people aged 80 and over.

Thank you to everyone who continues to make this possible: the continued support from everyone attending for vaccination; their families & friends; the team of wonderful volunteers; our own staff and the wider partnerships across public and voluntary services; the vital support from Maldwyn Leisure Centre, Royal Welsh Showground and Bronllys Hospital as our venues. The success of the vaccination programme in Powys is a true team effort and testament to the spirit of this wonderful county.

Coronavirus continues to circulate. Recently the confirmed coronavirus case rates in Powys have been amongst the highest recorded 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.

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

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.


Booster Programme under way

Our booster programme is under way. 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 eight months after your second dose.

Second doses began in Powys on 17 February 2021, so we are currently sending invitations to people who received their second dose during February and March.

We will also be putting in place a referral process if you have not heard from us eight months after your second dose. This will allow you to let us know if you have moved into an eligible group since your second dose (for example, because you have become a frontline health and care worker this year). Look out for more details later this month.

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

We can occasionally offer short notice appointments and have a reserve list in place. This is currently open to people who had their second dose before 21 March 2021.

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


Vaccination Centres in Powys

Booster doses 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 18 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


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.

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.
 


COVID-19 Vaccination for 12-15 year olds

Since our last edition, the UK’s Chief Medical Officers have recommended that everyone aged 12-15 is offered their first dose.

Thousands of invitations have already been sent, and everyone registered with a GP in Powys should expect to receive an invitation by the end of October. Letters are being posted to your home address to invite you to bring young people aged 12-15 for an appointment at a dedicated clinic at one of our mass vaccination centres.

It is important that you make the right choice for you, and there is lots of useful information on our website. We also have a reserve list as we may be able to invite you at short notice if an appointment becomes available.

COVID-19 Vaccination for people age 12 to 15

Reserve List for COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments for 12-15 year olds

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.

If you do not want to take up the invitation now (or if you wish to decline vaccination) then please let us know so that we can offer the appointment to someone else.

Decline or Cancel your Mass Vaccination Centre invitation

You may want more time to consider your choice. Or, you may not be able to take up your appointment right now (for example, because you have had COVID-19 in the last 28 days). Please be assured that there will be lots more opportunities for 12-15 year olds to have the vaccination in future.


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


NHS COVID Pass

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

Most questions about the NHS 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 NHS COVID Pass. Please do wait at least five days after your vaccination for it to appear on your NHS COVID Pass.

This means that if you receive your first dose now, your NHS COVID Pass will show that you are double dosed in early December. 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 NHS COVID Pass.

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

Get the NHS COVID Pass to show your vaccination status

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

Vaccine Passports - Powys Teaching Health Board

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


Online Q&A Session with Carol Shillabeer: 5.30pm-6.30pm, Wednesday 13 October 2021

Our next online Q&A session with Carol Shillabeer will take place at 5.30pm on Wednesday 13 October.

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.


Self Isolate and Get A Test if you have symptoms

Coronavirus is still circulating. In fact, recent weeks have seen 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


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.


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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