Provides updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme up to 25 May 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.
As set in the progress section below, we have completed the first phase of the programme:
- all older person care home residents and staff
- frontline health and social care staff
- those 50 years of age and over
- the clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- those with underlying health conditions with put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
We are now in phase 2 of the programme. Subject to supply, our aim is to offer the vaccine to all eligible adults in Wales by the end of July.
As we continue to operate on the principle of no one left behind, the NHS will go back and offer those in priority groups 1-9 who for various reason have not yet taken up their offer.
That means, we are now vaccinating:
- everyone aged 18-29
- remaining adults aged 40-49 and 30-39
- anyone who, for whatever reason, was missed in priority groups 1-9, so that no one is left behind
Our second dose programme is running substantively alongside our first dose programme. 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?
Our infrastructure has been built from the ground up and is a blended delivery 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.
During the past week vaccinations were being administered in 462 locations across Wales, including:
- 54 mass vaccination centres
- 346 general practice locations
- 11 pharmacies
- 30 hospital locations
- there were 18 mobile teams operating
Achievement of markers and milestones
We have completed phase 1 of our programme, which includes 2 milestones.
In our Vaccination Strategy we said that subject to supply we would:
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 12 February that we had achieved this milestone.
We also 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
- marker 2 was to have offered the vaccine to all older person care home residents and staff by the end of January
- marker 3 was to have 250 GP practices deploying the vaccine by the end of January
These first groups are now being offered their second dose of the vaccine, which is important for longer term protection. 92% of care home residents and 81% of care home staf have now received their full course of the vaccine.
We said we would, subject to supply:
Offered the vaccine to all individuals in cohorts 1-9 by mid April. That includes all those aged 50 and over.
We achieved this milestone on 4 April.
We also outlined 3 markers we expected to achieve during milestone 2 by mid-April:
- 1 million vaccine doses administered by 7 March. This was achieved ahead of the target date on 27 February
- 1 million first doses administered by 14 March. This was achieved ahead of the target date on 9 March.
- 1.5 million doses administered during Milestone 2. This was achieved
- all those in priority groups 1-9 have been offered the vaccine and those in priority group 10 are being offered the vaccine
- high take up of both first and second doses in priority groups 1-4
- in total more than 3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Wales
- over 2 million people have had a first dose and over 1 million people have received their full course of vaccine
- 81% of the 40-49 cohort have received a first dose, 66% of the 30-39 cohort have received a first dose and 49% of the 18-29 cohort have received a first dose
- overall, 82% of our adult population have had a first dose and 39% of all adults in Wales have completed the two-dose course
There are always plans in place to ensure that no one is left behind, it is never too late for someone in the first priority groups to come forward for their vaccination.
Upcoming markers and milestones
Phase 2 of our Vaccination Programme is underway and our current priority is milestone 3 in our Strategy.
We have said, subject to supply, it is our aim to offer everyone in the current 10 priority groups their first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.
We remain on target to achieve this next milestone. More than two million people in Wales have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. In just six months, more than three million doses of the vaccine in total have been administered in Wales.
All health boards in Wales are inviting 18 to 29-year-olds to come forward for vaccination. In line with JCVI advice, the NHS in Wales is working hard to ensure every dose of vaccine allocated to Wales is delivered promptly to vaccination centres and primary care contractors for use in the programme and to make sure the appropriate vaccine is available at the right time.
We operate a just in time method of deployment ensuring every vaccine delivered to Wales is given to individuals as soon as possible. Health boards operate their own reserve lists and can use their own operational flexibility to ensure no vaccine is wasted, particularly if the vaccine has a short shelf life or when people cancel or cannot make an appointment at short notice. They can also use this flexibility to ensure people get the vaccine that is most appropriate for them.
No one left behind is a key principle to our vaccination programme. Whilst the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in Wales has been extremely high, there are still groups of the population who, despite receiving more than one offer, remain unvaccinated. It is never too late to come forward for your vaccination. Public Health Wales have published their fourth report on equality in coverage of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The report shows that coverage of vaccination has increased in all reported socioeconomic and ethnic groups, which is positive news. However, the largest inequality in coverage was seen between ethnic groups in adults aged 50 to 59 years. Coverage for the combined Black, Asian, Mixed and Other ethnic groups in this age-group was 79.9% compared to 91.3% in the combined White ethnic groups.
Inequalities were also seen between adults living in the most and least deprived areas of Wales. The vaccine is available for all eligible adults in Wales, irrespective of background, status, circumstance or heritage.
Inequality gaps in coverage of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine between ethnic and socioeconomic groups in older adults in Wales have narrowed since March. This is promising but we know there is more work to do to make sure no one is left behind as gaps remain.
The NHS will always be ready for you if you didn’t take up your first offer of COVID-19 vaccination for whatever reason but have changed your mind, it is never too late to arrange an appointment.
We are continuing to carefully monitor the so-called India variant (VOC-21APR-02) in Wales. Our Test Trace Protect teams continue to ensure we trace and monitor contacts of variant cases and are also further developing local plans if targeted or surge testing is required. The numbers in Wales of this variant are low and we have high numbers of people already vaccinated, including high numbers of second doses in our most vulnerable groups. But we are closely monitoring this variant in Wales and in line with the latest JCVI advice are working with our local incident teams and health boards to facilitate bringing forward, subject to supply, second doses of vaccination where it will reduce infections, severe illness and hospitalisation. The emergence of the so-called India variant (VOC-21APR-02) is a reminder that COVID-19 has not gone away and that it’s really important to take up the offer of vaccination when it is your turn, including getting the second dose when offered to get the most protection.
Every Health Board in Wales is supplied with enough vaccines to ensure second doses are provided within the 12 week recommended time frame. Health boards have the flexibility under the current JCVI advice to expedite second doses in certain areas should they decide this is a clinical priority, where they have sufficient current vaccine supply.
People’s safety always comes first. We will only use vaccines where it is safe to do so and the benefits continue to outweigh the risks. We are confident in the vaccines and certain that we must keep momentum. People will receive invitations to a vaccination appointment where the vaccine used is appropriate for their age or clinical circumstances. It is important that we maintain the current high-levels of vaccine uptake to keep Wales safe. 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. Your second dose of vaccine is important for longer lasting protection against COVID-19.
Public Health Wales has helpful FAQs on their website about the vaccine and safety, they are also publishing daily and weekly surveillance data releases.
A range of information on our vaccination programme is available on our website, including guidance published relating to the priority groups.
Welsh Government statisticians are also publishing some of the more operational statistics attached to the programme each week.