Our over 80s population in Hywel Dda have started to receive vaccinations to protect them against COVID-19 as the first Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines have been delivered by GP practices in west Wales this week.
Mrs Margaret Stevens, aged 92, from Llanelli was delighted to be one of the first patients in the community to receive her vaccine as was Burry Port resident Mr Clifford Jones, aged 85.
To date, more than 10,000 vaccines have been delivered in the Hywel Dda area since December 2020 and from next week, 14 surgeries across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire will be providing the vaccine locally to people aged 80 and over.
Work is ongoing in conjunction with primary care colleagues, so that by mid-January many more GP practices across the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire will be calling patients in for the vaccine, as well as providing vaccination for more care home residents as well patients who are housebound.
The health board is also in discussion with colleagues in community pharmacy to explore the possibility of vaccinations being delivered by pharmacists and working on setting up more community based vaccination centres to support health board and primary care delivery in Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Haverfordwest, as more vaccine doses are provided. Announcements will be made when details are finalised and the sites will be phased in according to logistical arrangements.
Health and care staff will continue to also be called in for vaccination in the mass centres in Carmarthen and Cardigan.
Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The situation in Wales is very serious at the moment. Cases of the virus are very high and there is a new, very transmissible strain of coronavirus in the UK, circulating in all parts of Wales. Whilst we are asking our communities to continue to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS by staying at home, there is also hope in the form of the vaccines.
“It is incredible that we have vaccinated 10,000 people in the Hywel Dda area already. I am grateful to all our staff and the partners we are working with in primary care, care homes and local authorities to make this happen.
“We would ask our communities to bear with us – it will take time to roll this out but we are assured that we will continue to receive greater volumes of the vaccine in the coming weeks. Please don’t phone your GP or hospital to find out when your vaccine will be, but be reassured that they will call you in at the appropriate time.
“But also please get ready to accept the vaccine when you are offered it. It will offer you great protection from the disease that has so drastically affected all our lives.”
Dr Sion James, Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care and Community Services, Hywel Dda University Health Board added: "This is an exciting time for primary care contractors to be part of a historical vaccination programme, working collaboratively with our colleagues in the health board.
“We’d like to assure those in the priority group we’re currently vaccinating in primary care (80 and over), that they will be contacted by their GP to arrange a vaccine appointment. Please don’t contact your GP or pharmacist.
“Thank you to everyone for their patience at this time.”
Understandably, there will be a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines would not have been approved and released if they were not safe. Please visit http://phw.nhs.wales/covid-19-vaccination for more information regarding eligibility and safety of the vaccines.
Criminals are using the pandemic to scam the public – don’t become a victim. Law enforcement, government and private sector partners are working together to encourage members of the public to be more vigilant against fraud, particularly about sharing their financial and personal information, as criminals seek to capitalise on the pandemic. To find out more, including how to report such a crime, visit: https://www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/