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Mass effort to vaccinate over 3,200 people in Gwynedd and Anglesey this weekend

THERE will be a mass effort to vaccinate over 3,200 people in Gwynedd and Anglesey this weekend.

The drives have been designed to target pockets of Gwynedd and Anglesey not yet picked up by Bangor’s designated Mass Vaccination Centre or local GPs’ supplies.

Wales will be the first UK nation to offer the jab to the top four priority groups.

Targeting these groups, which includes over 70s, the “extremely clinically vulnerable” and any NHS or social care workers, the process is already underway of offering some over 65s the jab while working through the priority list.

Since Thursday Holyhead’s Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley has opened its doors for the big push, with an expectation that more than 2,000 people will have been vaccinated by Sunday.

Meanwhile, despite having only days to prepare, a separate vaccination drive will also take place in Nefyn over Saturday and Sunday with plans to provide another 1,200 Pfizer jabs to people across Llŷn and Eifionydd.

Dr Eilir Hughes, who was also part of efforts to vaccinate 1,200 in late January, said: “We’re being sent a tray of the Pfizer vaccine which will allow us to protect those over 65, thanks to the support of the local community, police and Gwynedd Council.”

In Holyhead, also set up in less than a week, the efforts of staff at Penrhos Stanley and other primary care teams has already seen hundreds receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr David Williams, of the town’s Victoria Surgery,  said:  “It’s important that we have centres like this available in the community as some people find it difficult to travel to Bangor.

“We also have to remember that many people in the priority group 1-4 won’t have travelled far over the last 12 months so it’s great to be able to offer the vaccine locally when it’s possible.

“Being in the hospital means we are able to use the Pfzier for the first time with our patients on Anglesey and vaccinate over 2,000 people in the space of a few days.

“This will ensure we have vaccinated a large of amount of vulnerable people in this area by the end of the weekend, which is great news.”

Ffion Johnstone, West Area Director for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are overwhelmed with the support we have received to enable us to set these clinics up.

“In Holyhead we have a number of volunteers from Anglesey Council and Medrwn Môn supporting with marshalling duties and guiding patients from and over 40 other volunteers who have put forward their names to support the clinics over the next few days.

“This is an incredible community effort, and we’d like to thank everyone who has been part of the effort to help make this happen.”

Ynys Mon MP Virgina Crosbie said she was “delighted” at the decision to set up a local centre in Holyhead after being contacted by constituents concerned about apparent delays to the vaccination roll-out locally.

Some, she said, from cohort four (over 70’s) were receiving vaccinations ahead of those in cohorts two and three in the Holyhead area.

She added, “I raised this with BCUHB, who were unaware of the position.  They reacted very rapidly to appraise the situation and swiftly addressed the immediate problem for specific high-risk individuals.

“I would like to thank BCUHB for the proactive way in which they addressed the issues and congratulate them on setting up an LVC so quickly and effectively.

“It has made a step-change to the health of the people of Anglesey and resolved much of the local fear and frustration.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added, “Having called for a mass vaccination centre in Holyhead, I was grateful to the health board for responding so positively and getting this weekend’s sessions up-and-running.

“I’ll look forward to these sessions happening regularly as we move into the even busier periods of vaccination and in weeks and months to come, as the population at large is protected from the virus.

“Meanwhile I’ll also keep on pushing for more key workers including those in schools, the emergency services and in public transport to be vaccinated as early as possible and continue to press Welsh Government for comprehensive data on the distribution of the different vaccines across Wales and the UK.”

This week saw the First Minister confirm that the amount of vaccine supplied to Wales is expected to fall over the coming weeks, with the previously planned drop affecting the entire UK.

He added that the Welsh NHS would focus the Pfizer vaccine supply on the second vaccination of those in the top four priority groups who have already received their first vaccine.

“We know that we are going to get less vaccine over the next few weeks than we have over the past few weeks,” said Mr Drakeford.

“That was planned for and known for and is accommodated in our plans which remain to complete the vaccination of those next five priority groups by the spring.

“So, without unforeseen barriers, we are confident that we will remain on track.”

Dr Eilir Hughes, who will spend the next two days vaccinating at Nefyn’s Ty Doctor surgery,  concluded, “Now that we’re facing a comparative lull in terms of vaccine supply, its important that we use this time to evaluate how things have gone in the north west, what has worked and what hasn’t.

“We need to ensure there’s joined up working and planning between the MVC’s and the community teams, its vital that a fair service is provided for those in both rural and urban areas.

“The MVC’s have their vital function but I feel we’ve also proven that we’re resilient and able to play our part within the ongoing effort.

“I’m sure that other parts of Wales looking at what’s been going on in Llŷn and thinking there’s no reason why it can’t happen elsewhere.”

All appointments must be pre-booked, with no drop-ins available.

People who are extremely clinically vulnerable or over the age of 70 who have yet to receive their first coronavirus vaccination appointment are being urged to contact the booking centre on 03000 840004.

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