Details of how the new Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine will be rolled out in the Newport area have been revealed.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has announced details of its programme for the new vaccine, which was officially approved in the UK on Wednesday.
40,000 doses of the vaccine will be delivered across Wales next week, according to one of the country’s medical advisors.
Unlike the Pfizer coronavirus vaccines already being rolled out, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine does not need to be stored at minus temperatures, making it far easier to be transported to care homes and GP surgeries.
Saying it was “delighted” with the news of the vaccine’s approval on Wednesday, Aneurin Bevan University Health board said it had “made good progress on our vaccination programme since it began on December 8” and that the new vaccine would help “accelerate our vaccination programme.”
Who will get the vaccine and how will it be rolled out in the Gwent area?
The health board said this week it will use “a combination of mass vaccination centres and mobile units to take the vaccine out to people who are unable to get to a centre.”
This will include “those who live in care homes and similar settings, and through primary care general practice.”
In line with the priority groups set out by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent expert advisory committee that advises UK health departments on immunisation and vaccine schedules, the vaccine will first be given to:
• Care home residents and staff.
• Over 80s and front line health and social care staff.
How will I find out whether or not I am eligible to get the vaccine if I am in one of these priority groups?
If you are over 80 or have a family member that is over 80, the health board will be making contact “very shortly by letter to arrange a vaccination.”
“In the next few weeks as information emerges about supply, and appointments become available at shorter notice, we may also telephone individuals,” the health board said.
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Saying its staff were “working incredibly hard to ensure we vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible”, the health board added that anyone who is not in a priority group must wait to be invited to get the vaccine.
“Please do not contact your GP practice or pharmacy, as they will not be able to help you book an appointment,” they said.
On New Year’s Eve, a further 65 people were confirmed by Public Health Wales (PHW) to have died with the virus, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 3,494.
All of Wales is currently in full lockdown at alert level four, meaning people must stay home except for limited purposes.
Read more about how the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine works here.