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COVID-19 Vaccination Newsletter 23 April 2021 (html version)

Dear Colleagues

Yesterday we reached 125,000 vaccine doses in Powys, and over three quarters of the adult population have already received their first dose. This means that we have exceeded our goal to offer everyone aged 50+ their first dose by the middle of April, and already over 12,000 people under 50 have had the vaccine.

We are also continuing with our daily updates on our website but have now moved to a fortnightly edition of this bulletin.

Here are some of the key headlines this week:

  • Across the UK we continue to be affected by the expected period of reduced supplies. This does mean that we are providing first doses at a slower pace than the peak we saw earlier this month, but second doses are not affected.
  • We are following the very latest guidance on AstraZeneca. There was an update in our last newsletter and we now also have a dedicated page on our website with the latest FAQs and links to more detailed information. Based on national guidance people aged 18-29 should be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca if available – so this does mean that you may see 18-29 called from the reserve list if Pfizer slots become available: Your questions about the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine - Powys Teaching Health Board (
  • As mentioned above, second dose appointments are not affected by the change in supplies. Already nearly a third of the adult population in Powys has received their second dose. If you do not receive an invitation for a second dose appointment 11-12 weeks after your first dose then you can contact us and we will fast-track you to an appointment: Second Dose Appointments - Powys Teaching Health Board (
  • More than 94% of people in Priority Groups 1-9 have already received their first dose, and over 40% have double dose protection. This also means that nearly 75% of the total adult population in Powys have had their first vaccination.

This week in our “Vaccination Heroes” series we focused on the new immunisers who have joined our team.

When we started vaccination back in December we brought in vaccinators from across the health board workforce. However, as we move forward we have been able to recruit and train new vaccinators to deliver the COVID vaccine.

Some of these are retired staff who are coming back to help, and others are health care support workers who are keen to develop their skills and careers.

Eira Meyer is a Health Care Support Worker, normally working in Newtown hospital. She explained “I already wanted to train to become a nurse, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to gain some amazing experience and to help out with the vaccination programme. It’s been great being part of the team and helping the community.”

Sue Evans is a Health Care Support Worker in Bronllys. She told me “I used to be a nurse but my registration ran out while I was working abroad. Coming back into the health service has been great for me and I’ve really enjoyed helping the people that come through for vaccination. The support has been great and I and the other HCSWs training to be vaccinators are so glad to be accepted.”

In rural areas like Powys it is really important to be able to ‘grow our own’ staff. The health board has a programme dedicated to supporting people to become registered nurses and other health professionals. Whether they join as Apprentices or as Health Care Support Workers, there is a pathway to a career in the NHS in Powys.

Thank you to everyone that is part of this amazing process.

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, Fresh Air 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.

Online Q&A Session with Carol Shillabeer

If you were unable to join our online Q&A session with Carol Shillabeer on Wednesday 7 April you can still watch it online via this link.

You are also invited to our next online event with Carol Shillabeer from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021. This will provide an opportunity to update you on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Powys. As this briefing will take place in Mental Health Awareness Week we will also provide an update on mental health and wellbeing.

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.

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 – 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:

Coronavirus Testing now available for a wider set of symptoms in Powys

Everyone in Powys can already have a free coronavirus test if you have one of the three classic signs: fever, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of taste and smell.

But now you can now also go for a free Coronavirus test if you have a wider range of symptoms. These are:

  • Flu-like symptoms including any or all of: aches or pains; tiredness; headache; runny nose or blocked nose; sneezing; sore throat; shortness of breath; nausea; loss of appetite; diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Generally feeling unwell or have been in contact with a known COVID-19 case.
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test.

The widening of symptoms is to help find hidden COVID-19 cases in our communities, and drive down the numbers of onward transmissions. Ensuring effective and accessible testing for a wider range of signs and symptoms will help control and stop the virus from spreading further in our Powys communities.

Residents are therefore encouraged to get a test if they are experiencing any symptoms such as the above that are new, persistent and/or unusual for them. The more tests are carried out, the easier it will be to spot early clusters of cases and possible virus mutations.

People who are experiencing one or more of the three classic symptoms of a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of taste and smell must continue to follow Welsh Government guidance by going for a test and self-isolating with their household whilst they await a test result.

People who take a test because of the new wider symptoms listed above are not required to isolate while they await their test result. This includes school pupils who can continue to attend school while they await their test result.

People who have had any of the classic signs or any of the new wider symptoms and would like to book a test can do so online at or by calling 119, or 18001 119 for people with hearing or speech difficulties. This is also the way to request a home testing kit.

As these are national testing centres, you may automatically be asked about the classic three signs. However, simply choose either option: “you have been asked to take a test by your local council” or “you are part of a government pilot project” to book your test.

If you have any queries about testing for other symptoms you can contact the Powys Testing hub via email at or by calling 01874 612228.

However, if you are chasing your COVID-19 result, you will need to call 119. Results can take up to 72 hours for processing.

More information about coronavirus testing in Powys is available from our website: Coronavirus Testing - Powys Teaching Health Board (

Access Lateral Flow Devices if you are not able to work from home

Welsh Government has put in place new arrangements so that tests for people who do not have symptoms - Lateral Flow Devices – are available for people who are not able to work from home (including volunteers). The devices can be collected every morning from the testing centres in Newtown and Brecon. We expect the collection points to expand in future and will share more details as we receive them.

More information about collecting Lateral Flow Devices if you are not able to work from home is available from the Welsh Government website:

We expect further announcements soon about the expansion of this scheme.

Have Your Say on the future of health and care services

Carers UK have launched a new survey for unpaid carers to help understand carers' experience of health services, support services and breaks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey will be open until 25 April and will take 15-20 minutes to complete:

Share your experiences of cancer diagnosis, treatment and care to help with Improving the Cancer Journey in Powys:

Job Opportunities

We have lots of great opportunities for people to join our team here at Powys Teaching Health Board. You can find all our current opportunities on our website:

Please help spread the word about our latest vacancies.