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Everything we know about the coronavirus vaccines in Wales – and what we dont – North Wales Live

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/everything-know-coronavirus-vaccines-wales-19597167

More information is starting to emerge about the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine in Wales.

Though the Welsh Government is yet to publish an overall plan for the roll-out, more detail is now available on the number of vaccination centres there’s going to be, as well as the number of doses available to the population.

One of the criticisms so far has been the lack of up-to-date data around vaccines and where the centres will be located.

First Minister Mark Drakeford addressed some of these concerns at a press conference on Friday in which he also provided some more detail on other elements of the rollout.

WalesOnline have collated all the latest information on the vaccine roll-out in Wales to lay out exactly what we do and don’t know about how this vital vaccine will be rolled out.

How many vaccination centres are there going to be?

According to the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, speaking at a press conference on Friday, Wales “started with just seven vaccination centres – today we have 22 and that will rise to 35”.

He also said: “At the start of next week, 75 GP practices will be vaccinating. It will be 100 by next Friday and 250 by the end of the month. And we have 14 mobile units providing vaccinations to care homes around Wales.”

Meanwhile Scotland announced hundreds of vaccination centres before Christmas, detailing the names and locations of GP surgeries and mass vaccination centres in their detailed plans.

Where are the vaccination centres going to be?

Questions have been asked to the Welsh Government and health boards where the vaccination centres are going to be for some time. They would give very few details, though there were mixed responses from health board to health board.

It is understood that the reason for this lack of transparency is because there were fears around security and of people turning up for tests without appointments.

We can still not confirm exactly where the centres will be, but we understand the distribution of centres around Wales will look something like this:

There is as yet no detail on how big these centres will be which may explain why Cardiff only has one.

The areas where the first vaccination locations are planned
(Image: Welsh Government)

More consistent data will soon be released

One of the big criticisms of the Welsh Government over the vaccine roll-out so far is that it has not been keeping people updated on how the roll-out is going. At present, they only provide an update once a week on a Thursday – and even then it is three days out of date.

Mr Drakeford announced on Friday that daily figures for the amount of vaccines would be given daily from Monday. It is also understood that there will be a more comprehensive breakdown on a Thursday of how many vaccines each health board has done.

Over time they hope to also give breakdowns of how many people from each priority area have been vaccinated.

How many doses of the vaccine does Wales have?

Mr Drakeford said that there were 22,000 doses of the Oxford vaccine available in Wales from Monday.

He said he expects that to increase to 25,000 doses next week and 80,000 doses in the week after that.

He added the Government also took significant deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine in the last week of December, and it currently has a greater supply of those than of the Oxford vaccine.

How has the roll-out been going so far?

To date, Wales has been the least effective of the four UK nations at vaccinating people. We had administered just under 50,000 doses as of January 3.

It is equivalent to one in every 63.8 people. By comparison, England had vaccinated one in 50.6, Scotland one in 48.1 and Northern Ireland leading the way with vaccinating one in every 45 people.

There is also significant disparity across Wales with the north Wales health board Betsi Cadwaladr having vaccinated the fewest people relative to its population.

Every household in Wales will be getting a letter

The Welsh Government are planning on investing in a nationwide communication campaign to inform people on how the vaccine will work.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “People in the first priority group will be contacted by their health board when they are due for a vaccination.

“We are planning a wider communication campaign for the public, including a letter to every household in Wales about how the vaccination process will work, with local information. A UK-wide radio and digital advertising campaign is also being developed.”

The Welsh Government is going to try and convince anti-vaxxers to take the jab

The Welsh Government will seek to gently persuade people with doubts about Covid-19 vaccines that it’s in their interests to take it.

A minority of people are undecided about whether to be vaccinated because of their fears of side effects, while others believe unfounded conspiracy theories spread on social media. These fears are not backed up by science.

A Welsh Government source who has been working with the UK Government on a communications strategy aimed at persuading “anti-vaxx” supporters and the undecided to be vaccinated told us: “There has been a range of work done looking at the anti-vaxx sentiment and the polling showing the rates at which people have said they definitely wouldn’t get a vaccine.

“Around 20% of the population say they’re unlikely to get a vaccine. Of that, around half said they’d definitely not get it, so we’re looking at 10% of the population who say they wouldn’t get it.

“In the rest of the population it’s actually very positive. If you focus on people who said they would get it, it paints a much more positive picture. It’s the information getting to that undecided group that is key in all of this.”

What don’t we know?

At the moment we are still in the dark on a lot of elements of the roll-out. We have no idea exactly where the vaccination centres will be, their opening hours or if, for example, they will open on weekends.

We also have no idea why Wales is already lagging behind other UK nations.

Another issue is around targets and capacity. When WalesOnline pressed the First Minister on why no targets had been set for the roll-out he said that it was not possible to set targets because the Welsh Government is not responsible for procuring the supplies of the vaccine (the UK Government is).

When will we know more?

The Welsh Government has said that it will be releasing a plan “early next week” which will address people’s concerns and questions about the roll-out.

On Monday, Vaughan Gething will hold a press conference where he will outline further details.

Why can’t the Welsh Government say when vaccination of priority groups will be completed?

Asked why the Welsh Government can’t provide a timeframe, as England has, for when the top four priority groups will have completed their vaccinations, Mr Drakeford said this is because the number of vaccinations Wales can give is dependent on its supply of the vaccine.

He has, however, said it is his ambition to vaccinate everyone in the top four at-risk groups by mid-February. The top four at-risk groups are:

  • 40,250 care home residents
  • 326,000 frontline health and care workers as well as all over 80s
  • 126,800 people over 75
  • 247,300 people over the age of 70 or in clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

Referring to the planned vaccination timetable for priority groups set out by the Prime Minister, Mr Drakeford said: “I absolutely share the same ambition.”

He said that while Wales wants to get the top four groups vaccinated as fast as possible, it depends on how quickly we can ramp up capacity to deliver the vaccine and the supply of the vaccine coming into Wales.

He said the volume of the vaccine coming into the country will have to accelerate further for the UK to vaccinate faster, but that he has no reason to think that the people responsible for procuring it aren’t attempting to do that and to do it fairly.

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