Younger police officers and other key workers won’t be denied end-of-day vaccines that might otherwise be wasted, the Welsh Government has confirmed.
However very few surplus doses are expected to be available at present because the country’s vaccine supply has plummeted.
Over the past fortnight the number of daily Covid-19 vaccines administered in Wales fell 40% as supplies dipped to 100,000 doses per week.
This drop-off was anticipated by Cardiff, following a temporary slide in vaccine supplies, and the roll-out is expected to accelerate again in March, with Wales due to receive 160,000-190,000 vaccines a week.
By then the focus will switch to administering second doses of the two vaccines currently available.
Where not all doses are used up on a particular day, health boards may offer surplus jabs to non-target recipients.
“(They) have been telling me they have received an e-mail from within their force saying they’re not allowed to receive the vaccine if they are not in the appropriate JCVI group, even if they’re called at a session where there are spare doses going,” she said.
“Police officers are on the front line and they do not feel they’re being treated with fairness.
“They’re not asking for priority here – they just want to be fair. If I can walk by a centre and be offered a spare dose, why can’t a police officer?”
In response, health minister Vaughan Gething said it was an “urban myth” that certain groups were being denied access to end-of-day vaccines.
If surplus doses are available, health boards can call upon “spare groups of people” at the end of the day, he said.
These are typically people aged over 50 who still tend to be mobile and who can therefore usually attend at short notice.
“If it isn’t possible to do that then, yes, we do think it’s appropriate to offer other people that end-of-day vaccine to make sure that doses aren’t wasted,” said Mr Gething.
“I don’t think we’re going to find high numbers, but if for the sake of dealing with six (surplus) vaccines, whether that’s a firefighter or a police officer or somebody else, then the Welsh Government certainly isn’t saying, ‘you cannot have that vaccine – it must be thrown away’.
“That clearly doesn’t make sense, and that isn’t the position we’re adopting.”
On Thursday, Public Health Wales published the latest weekly data on the rollout of the vaccine across every part of the country.
As of February 21, Wales had delivered 908,339 doses in total, up from 793,911 the previous week.
Of these, 865,518 were first doses of the vaccine.
Another 42,821 people had received their second dose.
In the following three days a further 25,000 first doses and 27,000 second doses were administered, meaning that 28.2% of the Welsh population have now received one jab, and 2.2% are now fully vaccinated
Betsi Cadwaladr, the country’s largest health board, leads the way in terms of the total number of vaccinations administered.
Powys remains the area with the highest rate of vaccination, as it has done since the start of the roll out, with more than a third of its population being jabbed at least once.
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Covid-19 vaccination doses up to February 21
|Health Board||1st dose||2nd dose||% of people jabbed|
|Aneurin Bevan University||164,396||4,663||28.5%|
|Betsi Cadwaladr University||202,859||10,335||30.5%|
|Cardiff and Vale University||119,206||
|Cwm Taf Morgannwg University||116,280||7,826||27.7%|
|Hywel Dda University||111,370||3,232||29.6%|
|Swansea Bay University||98,715||5,756||26.8%|
|Public Health Wales||125||N/A|
|Velindre NHS Trust||
Daily data from PHW shows more than 124,000 health care workers have been given their first vaccine doses .
More than 166,000 people aged 80 or over have also got their jabs.
Since moving on to people in their 70s, the vaccination programme has continued apace with more than nine in 10 having now received their jabs.
Most of the current categories are at or above 90% completion in terms of getting their first jabs.
Covid-19 vaccination by category up to February 21
|Category||1st dose||1st dose %||2nd dose||2nd dose %|
|80 years +||165,645||90.6%||1,004||0.5%|
|Care home residents||17,437||84.6%||255||1.5%|
|Care home workers||36,528||N/A||6,367||N/A|
|Social Care Workers||35,846||N/A||2,800||N/A|
|Clinically extremely vulnerable||65,690||84.5%||1,384||1.8%|
Welsh Government data has also revealed some inequality in vaccine coverage across the country’s ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
This was most apparent in ethnic groups in adults aged 80 years and over.
Overall, coverage for the combined Black, Asian, Mixed and Other ethnic groups in this age group was 71.5% compared to 85.6% in the White ethnic group, a gap of 14.1%.
A 12.8% gap was seen for adults aged 75 to 79 years, and 10% for adults aged 70 to 74 years.
Inequalities of up to 5.7% were also apparent between the most and least deprived areas of Wales.
Little difference was seen in uptake between those with a recorded sex of male or female.
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