Provides updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme up to 16 March 2021.
Our National Vaccination Strategy was published on 11 January and is based on the detailed planning NHS Wales had been doing. Our strategy is focused on 3 key areas:
- Our priorities – we continue to work closely with the UK Government on supply. Based on what we know about supply and the priority cohorts set by the JCVI, we have set key milestones;
- Our vaccination infrastructure – making sure that people can access their vaccination offer - the places to go to get vaccinated, people to give the vaccination and the appointment and digital recording and reporting system set up;
- Keeping up to date and informed about the vaccination programme – we are committed to providing information to keep everyone in Wales updated about the vaccination programme.
An Update to our National Strategy was published on 26 February 2021 to reflect on progress and provide further information about our current and future priorities.
Who is currently getting vaccinated?
Our priority list of people to receive the vaccine has been agreed by endorsing the UK’s independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The same priority list is being followed by all four nations in the UK and has the support of all 4 Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) within the UK.
Our first priority was to offer the vaccine to priority groups 1–4. This included all older person care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; those 70 years of age and over; and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals. We said that, subject to supply, it was our ambition to do this by mid-February. That target was met. These first groups are now beginning to be offered their second dose of the vaccine, which is important for longer term protection. More than one third of care home residents, and over half of their care staff, have now received their full course of the vaccine.
We are now vaccinating the next set of priority groups:
- everyone aged 50 to 69
- everyone aged over 16 with an underlying health condition which puts them at increased risk of serious illness with Covid-19 – including some people with learning disabilities and with severe mental illness
- unpaid carers who provide care for someone who is clinically vulnerable to Covid-19
Subject to supply, our aim is to offer the vaccine to everyone in these groups by the middle of April.
So far more than 1,139,800 people have received their first dose of the vaccine in Wales; and over 272,900 have received their full course of vaccine. In total, more than 1,412,700 vaccines have been administered.
Our second dose programme has been running substantively for around a month now and already over a quarter of a million people have had their full course of the vaccine. The second dose is essential for longer term protection so it’s really important that second dose offers are taken up.
Where are vaccinations taking place?
We have been building an infrastructure from the ground up. The delivery model is a blended model. This is aimed at providing a mix of sites in order to maximise speed of roll out, ensure safety, meet the needs of the characteristics of the vaccines, be as conveniently located as possible and, importantly make sure we give equitable access across the country and all communities.
Last week saw an increase in our vaccine supply and is the first of a number of weeks of expected high-volumes. Similar to the flexing our infrastructure has done recently with a reduced level of supply, last week our capacity flexed upwards. During the past week vaccinations were being administered in 563 locations across Wales, including:
- 58 mass vaccination centres
- 368 general practice locations
- 33 hospital locations and
- there were 96 mobile teams operating
Achievement of markers and milestones
In our Strategy, we outlined 3 markers to deliver as part of our journey to achieving milestone 1 by mid-February:
Marker 1 was to have offered a first dose of the vaccine to all frontline Welsh Ambulance Trust staff by 18 January. This has been achieved.
Marker 2 was to have offered the vaccine to all older person care home residents and staff by the end of January. This has been achieved.
Marker 3 was to have 250 GP practices deploying the vaccine by the end of January. This was achieved and exceeded ahead of the target date for the marker.
Milestone 1 in our strategy was to have:
- offered the vaccine to all individuals in cohorts 1–4 by mid February. That includes all older person care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; those 70 years of age and over; and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
We confirmed on Friday 12 February that we had achieved this milestone. All those in these first 4 priority groups have been offered the vaccine and over 85% have now received their first dose. Up-take is over 90% for some groups and over 95% for others, including care home residents and those aged 75-79.
Upcoming markers and milestones
Our current priority is milestone 2 in our Strategy. We have said that it is our aim to offer everyone in the current 9 priority groups their first dose of the vaccine by the middle of April. More than 90% of people between 65-69 have already received their first dose of the vaccine and people in the 50-64 age groups are also beginning to be called for their appointments.
With a month left until the mid-April target date for these groups, we are increasingly confident we will deliver against the target we set ourselves. With increased vaccine supply over the coming weeks we expect to see higher numbers of first doses administered while also maintaining the pace of our second dose programme. Over the weekend, there were days when more than 40,000 vaccines were recorded – that’s more than 1% of the population vaccinated in a day
We are maintaining the best vaccination rate in the UK, as the following 7 day rolling average chart shows, and a greater proportion of people in Wales have had both doses of the vaccine in Wales than in any other part of the UK.
Once all those in the current priority groups have been offered their first dose of the vaccine, as well as continuing with the second dose programme, NHS Wales will move on to those aged 40-49, in line with the recent advice of the JCVI on phase 2 of the programme.
We have said that it is our aim to offer all eligible adults in Wales the vaccine by the end of July.
People’s safety will always come first, we continually and closely review vaccine safety reports and we are confident in our vaccines and certain that we must keep momentum.
The final advice of the JCVI on prioritisation during phase 2 of the programme is expected shortly.
A range of information on our vaccination programme is available on our website, including guidance published relating to the priority groups.
The Update to our National Strategy published on 26 February provides further information on the research emerging on the effectiveness of the vaccines. This research is really positive, but there is still a lot more we need to learn.
One thing becoming increasingly clear is the importance of maintaining the current high-levels of vaccine uptake. Every dose administered and every person protected really does make a difference. The vaccines are safe and effective and we urge everyone to take up their offer when it is their turn.
Public Health Wales is publishing daily and weekly surveillance data releases.
Welsh Government statisticians are also publishing some of the more operational statistics attached to the programme each week.