Concerns have been raised about delays to the Covid-19 vaccine roll out in North Wales for 40-49 year olds.
Recent data by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), has raised worries jab offers are lagging in that age group, with stark differences between the east and west.
And according to the latest Public Health Wales (PHW) data, more than 70% of all 40-49 year olds across the country, have had their first vaccine, with a further 13% having had a second dose.
BCUHB health chiefs say there are booking variations, due to the way vaccines are now being administered, but they should even out over the “next few weeks.”
People have taken to social media to express their frustration at the delays in North Wales, with people aged 42 and over the border in England, now also able to book a Covid jab.
Fitness instructor, Sarah Doran, said: “As a 44 year old in Flintshire when can I expect my vaccine! You are ploughing ahead with the under 30s yet the 40-49yr olds are virtually at a standstill. You’ve managed to do 2% in the last week yet 18% of the under 30s.”
She added: “It’s frustrating. I feel like one of the forgotten, you can say we will all be vaccinated before the end of July, but at 44 in cohort 10a I expected to at least have an appointment by now.”
Simon Patronick, a 47-year-old from Connah’s Quay, said he had “heard nothing about the vaccination”, adding “things seem to have really slowed down in North Wales.”
When the vaccines were first rolled-out, the focus initially had been on vaccinating vulnerable groups and the very elderly, then down to the over 50s.
Earlier this months BCUHB confirmed it was changing policy on the vaccine roll-out which could see some 18 to 29 year-olds getting a jab, ahead of older people in North Wales.
At the time, Gill Harris, the health board’s executive director of nursing and midwifery, said JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) advice had prompted a rethink, with invitations to be issued on vaccine availability and not just age, she said.
It was to ensure adults within age groups received “the most clinically appropriate vaccines,” Ms Harris added.
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In a further response today, Dr Chris Stockport, executive director of primary and community care, said: “We remain on course to offer vaccination to the remaining adult population well before the Welsh Government’s end of July milestone.
“Although there is currently some variation in the per cent of people vaccinated in each cohort in different local authority areas of North Wales, we can see from appointment bookings for the next few weeks that this variation evens out.
“This variation is a result of the population size of individual cohorts in each local authority area; the amount and type of vaccine received; and the need to offer an alternative first dose vaccine to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged under 30, in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
“We are continuing to contact people aged 40-49 directly with an appointment to receive a first COVID-19 vaccine. Please be patient and only contact us if you wish to rearrange or cancel your appointment once you have received it.”
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PHW figures now show more than 1,800, 428 individuals have had a first dose in Wales with 715,425 receiving a second. The total doses given by BCUHB stands at 524,975.
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