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COVID-19 Vaccination Newsletter 8 February 2021 (html version)

Please note that this newsletter reflects the current position as at 8 February 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:


Welcome from Carol Shillabeer

Dear Colleagues

Our COVID-19 vaccination programme has now reached 33,000 people, which represents around 80% of the people in Priority Groups 1-4 in Powys – and already includes nearly 90% of our residents aged 75 and over.

Over 9500 vaccine doses were administered across the county last week. One member of our vaccination team has now delivered 1000 doses since the programme began. This is a tremendous achievement for one individual, and several of her colleagues are also well on their way to this milestone.

It has been very heartening to hear such positive feedback about the experience of vaccination in the county. Over 230 people have already filled in our short survey to tell us about your experience, and over 90% rated their experience as “excellent”. There have also been important areas of learning to help us continue to improve.

Based on our latest estimated figures, we have already provided first dose vaccination for:

  • 8500 people aged 80 and over 800 residents of care homes for older adults
  • 6400 people aged 75-79
  • 6000 people aged 70-74
  • 1800 adults who are “clinically extremely vulnerable”

Our vaccination clinics across the county this week will focus on the remaining appointments for people in these priority groups, as well as inviting people aged 65-69 (Priority Group 5) from our reserve list to help ensure that no doses are wasted. Alongside this, we are also calling out to frontline health and care workers providing intimate care for people in Powys in the UK Priority Groups who have not yet had their invitation.

People in Priority Groups 1-4 who have not yet received their invitation:

If you know of people aged 70 and over, or who have the specific conditions that mean they are “clinically extremely vulnerable”, who have not yet been invited for vaccination then please let us know.

There are more details later in this newsletter about how to do this.

At this point I should reiterate that the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group includes a very specific national list of conditions and treatments. Only those people with these conditions and treatments are invited in Priority Group 4, whilst people with a much wider range of underlying health conditions will be invited later in the programme in Priority Group 6.

The people who will be invited by mid-February will have recently received a letter from Welsh Government providing an update on “shielding”. This Priority Group includes:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers:
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
    • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • problems with your spleen, for example splenectomy (having your spleen removed)
  • adults with Down’s syndrome
  • adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)

Please do use your online forms to let us know of people in the categories who have not yet received their appointment, so that we can ensure that we offer vaccination to everyone on Priority Groups 1 to 4 by mid February.

New arrangements for our reserve lists

Our reserve lists have been invaluable in helping us fill all available appointments, and vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.

We have updated our reserve lists in response to user feedback, with a new weekly list opening every Friday morning at 9am for appointments in the following week.

More information is available later in the newsletter about how to join the reserve lists.

Useful information about travel and transport

We have also updated our website to include useful journey planning information to help people travelling to mass vaccination centres. Road signage has much improved through partnership working with Powys County Council Highways team, and community transport providers across the county are providing fantastic support to the vaccination programme – thank you to everyone involved.

My key messages this week are:

  • I remain so grateful for the support of our staff, volunteers, partner organisations, and the wider community across Powys for the incredible progress being made to deliver COVID-19 vaccination in the county.
  • If you are invited to an appointment at a mass vaccination centre and you CAN attend then please DO attend, as this will help us to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
  • If you are aged 70 and over and have not received your invitation yet then please let us know.
  • Otherwise, please wait to be contacted, and thank you for your patience.
  • Vaccinations are by appointment only, and please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible to help us give everyone the best possible experience at the vaccination centres.
  • You will receive your invitation when you are due for your appointment, based on the priority order across the UK. In some circumstances, you may be invited from our reserve list to help us ensure no vaccine is wasted.
  • Please don’t contact your GP, pharmacy, health board, hospital or local authority about an appointment – until you receive your invitation.

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


Vaccination Heroes: Facilities Team

This morning we spoke to some more hidden heroes of our vaccination centres: our Facilities Teams.

Facilities teams are always an essential part of any hospital setting, ensuring that everywhere is clean and that equipment is where it needs to be. However, in the middle of a pandemic, they are more important than ever in helping ensure the safety of everyone that works in the Mass Vaccination Centre and everyone that visits for their vaccinations.

We have staff working in each of our three Mass Vaccination Centres; they give the centres a really deep clean the day before they open each week while they are empty, then on the days that they are open they clean them again each morning before people arrive. They then continue to clean throughout the day to ensure we have the greatest possible protection against infection.

As well as their regular cleaning, they were also instrumental in setting up the vaccination centres, helping to clear the spaces from their previous use and helping to ensure that everything was ready in time. They ensure that the other staff and volunteers working in the centres have everything they need to work efficiently.

As many as 3,000 people per day are currently being vaccinated across our vaccination centres and we will be increasing this in the coming weeks as vaccine supply increases. Therefore, the work of these fantastic people is absolutely essential.

Thank you to all of you across Powys.

www.pthb.nhs.wales/news/health-board-news/vaccination-heroes-facilities-teams


Sharing Your Feedback

Our COVID-19 vaccination page now includes a simple feedback form to share your experience of COVID-19 vaccination in the county.

Over 230 people have completed the form following their vaccination to let us know whether their experience was poor, fair, good or excellent. It is reassuring to hear that most people have found their experience to be “excellent” and you have also shared valuable feedback to help us make improvements.

You can find the feedback form on our website at www.pthb.nhs.wales/covid-vaccine/


Call to people in Priority Groups 1-4

Invitations have now been sent to everyone in Priority Groups 1 to 4. This includes everyone aged 70 and over, and people with certain specified conditions that mean they are “clinically extremely vulnerable”. But, in the biggest vaccination programme the country has seen we know that some people may not have spotted their invitation, and some people may have been missed (for example, if they have recently moved to the area, or are not registered with a GP).

Our vaccination programme aims to ensure that no one is left behind. So, if you know anyone in Priority Groups 1 to 4 who has not yet been invited then please let us know so that we can make sure they are invited.   

There is useful information on our website for anyone in Priority Groups 1 to 4 who has not yet received their invitation.

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)

Remember that this group includes individuals with specific conditions:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers:
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
    • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • problems with your spleen, for example splenectomy (having your spleen removed)
  • adults with Down’s syndrome
  • adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)

Other adults with underlying health conditions are due to be invited in Priority Group 6, for which invitations will begin soon.

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)

Frontline health and care workers providing intimate care for people in Powys in the COVID-19 vaccination priority groups: Frontline Health and Care Workers - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)


Update on our Reserve Lists

We have responded to user feedback and changed the way we operate our reserve lists. We now open a new reserve list every Friday morning at 9am for people who are able to attend a short notice appointment at a mass vaccination centre the following week.

Our main reserve list is for people in Priority Groups 1 to 4 (people who are aged 70+ or who have specific conditions that make them “clinically extremely vulnerable”). We want to ensure that as many people as possible in these groups receives the vaccine by the middle of February: Are you able to attend a Mass Vaccination Centre appointment at short notice? - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)

We also have a secondary reserve list for people in Priority Group 5 – those aged 65 to 69Are you able to attend a Mass Vaccination Centre appointment at short notice? - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)

The reserve lists open every Friday morning at 9am, and if you meet the current eligibility criteria you can join the reserve list for appointments in the week ahead. At the moment, appointments at mass vaccination centres normally take place from Wednesday to Saturday. This reflects the current UK supplies of vaccine, and also the specific storage and delivery requirements of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which need to be used within four days of opening.

If you are in Priority Groups 1 to 4 and join our main reserve list then you should be called this week. If you are not called, the mean reasons include:

  • Your have provided a date of birth that indicates that you are not current eligible or have not entered your date of birth correctly
  • We have not been able to contact you using the contact details provided (e.g. incorrect telephone number)
  • Your condition is not included in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” categories (although you may have an underlying health condition in Priority Group 6 which means that you will receive your invitation soon)

If you are in Priority Group 5 and join our secondary reserve list then you may be called this week. Do look out for an email, text or phone call if appointments become available. Joining the secondary reserve list does not guarantee that you will be called. Please be assured that people in Priority Group 5 are due to receive their routine invitation very soon.

Our reserve lists are subject to change on a day to day basis to helps us meet demand, respond to changing vaccine supplies, help us to ensure that no vaccine doses are wasted, and to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.


Second Dose Appointments

In line with UK-wide policy, second dose appointments for COVID-19 vaccination are taking place approximately 11 weeks after the first dose appointment. More information about the UK-wide policy is available from the Public Health Wales website: COVID-19 vaccination information - Public Health Wales (nhs.wales).

If you have attended a mass vaccination centre in Bronllys, Builth Wells or Newtown for your first dose appointment then we will contact you nearer the time for your second dose appointment.

The very first vaccinations in Powys took place in the week beginning 7 December 2020. The second dose appointments for these people are due to begin next week. If you were one of the first people to receive your first dose appointment, in December 2020, then look out for details very soon about your second dose appointment.

Second Dose Appointments - Powys Teaching Health Board (nhs.wales)


COVID-19 Vaccination Online Q&A Event with Carol Shillabeer

If you weren’t able to join us for the latest online Q&A Event with our Chief Executive, Carol Shillabeer, on 3 February you can still watch it back online.

Watch the Online Q&A with Carol Shillabeer via this link

Thank you to everyone for joining these sessions. Your questions and insights help us to continue to strengthen the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Powys.


Useful Links

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:

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