Last Updated 13 January 2022
Thank you to everyone who helps their family, friends and neighbours to attend an appointment at a Mass Vaccination Centre. Your mass vaccination centre appointment will be your quickest opportunity to receive the vaccine, so please do all that you can to attend.
Mass vaccination centres are a critical part of the vaccination model in the UK, including here in Powys.
They help us to ensure that we can vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. This in turn has meant that the vaccination programme in Powys has been amongst the fastest in the UK.
A key reason for this is the delivery of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is the main vaccine available in Powys for the booster programme.
This vaccine has very stringent requirements for storage, transport and supply. This vaccine still normally arrives with us in trays of around 1000 doses which are difficult to split into smaller packs. It needs to be stored at very cold temperatures. When we bring it to a usable temperature it cannot travel for very long, and it now needs to be used within four weeks (although until Summer 2021 it needed to be used within four days!).
The specific requirements of Pfizer BioNTech mean that our mass vaccination centres need to be located where they can draw on a very large catchment – to use the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as effectively as possible and avoid waste. This has meant that we also need to make best use of these centres to deliver vaccination for as many people as possible as quickly as possible using other vaccine types.
The centres themselves also need to provide an environment that offers safe storage of the vaccine to avoid waste. They must also ensure social distancing for everyone involved – not just when you receive the vaccination, but also to wait safely for 15 minutes after the vaccine to check there is no reaction. This reduces the options for where and how these centres are established.
These very specific requirements for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine also mean that unfortunately, after very careful consideration, most GP practices have come to the decision that they are not able to join the booster programme.
Here in Powys we were able to quickly set up three vaccination centres in the county - Bronllys, Builth Wells, and Newtown – each serving around 40,000 people in the south, mid and north of the county.
We are incredibly grateful for the hard work of our staff and partners to get three vaccination centres set up so quickly, providing guaranteed COVID-19 vaccination appointments for our residents as soon as possible. As a result, nearly 300,000 doses have already been delivered through the PTHB vaccination programme, and we have already offered vaccination to everyone over the age of 12.
But Powys is very large and very sparsely populated, which means that delivering this vaccination programme is challenging for us and for our communities. Even with three mass vaccination centres, this still means that some residents have some distance to travel to get there.
We fully recognise this, which is why we will make sure that our approach is as flexible as possible.
On the one hand we do need as many people as possible to take up the invitation to a mass vaccination centre if they are able to do so. This will be best way to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
But we do absolutely recognise that travel and transport may be an issue for you, particularly in our large county. When you receive your invitation, our booking team can be contacted to discuss travel and transport options, for example:
If you are invited to attend a Mass Vaccination Centre and CAN attend then please DO attend as this will help us vaccinate as many as possible as quickly as possible.