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MERTHYR TYDFIL, WALES - JANUARY 04: A woman receives the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at Pontcae Medical Practice on January 4, 2021 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was administered at a handful of hospitals today before being rolled out to hundreds of GP-led sites across the country this week.

Missed Covid vaccine appointments reducing from Easter time high

THE number of people missing their Covid jab in Swansea Bay has fallen from a high point at the end of March when more than a quarter of no-shows were recorded on one day.

Almost 300,000 first and second dose jabs have been administered in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot since the vaccination roll-out got underway and take-up generally has been very high.

That wasn’t the case on March 28 when 492 appointments out of 1,750 at vaccination centres at the Bay Field Hospital, Margam Orangery and Canolfan Gorseinon were missed – prompting an appeal from Swansea Bay University Health Board leaders for people to attend.

Dorothy Edwards, the health board’s vaccination programme director, said:

“Our ‘did not attend’ rate has reduced and is now comparable with other Welsh health boards since the anomaly we saw around Easter time.

“There will always be legitimate reasons why people cannot attend. We only ask that they tell us in advance so we can rearrange their appointment if they wish and offer the slot to someone else.”

She said this ‘did not attend’ cohort included people who have had given an appointment date and time by letter, and also those who actually booked a date and time themselves after receiving a text to ring the vaccination phone number.

Ms Edwards added:

“The vast majority of people are keen to get their vaccination as soon as possible, with many turning up early for their appointment.

“We have methods in place to manage any ‘did not attend’, which now include our very successful reserve list, to ensure the vaccine isn’t wasted.”

Health board staff telephone and write to people who miss their appointments to offer them a second one, and will be testing new measures in the coming weeks to ensure all patients receive three offers at least.

Vaccinations, in tandem with restrictions on mixing and travel over the past months, have broken the link between cases and deaths in the UK.

Health boards began vaccinating nine priority groups and are now working their way down the general population based on age, with people in their 30s and 40s being called forward.

Ms Edwards said she and her colleagues were constantly looking at ways of increasing uptake further, particularly as the programme moved into the younger population.

She urged people to ensure their GP had their up-to-date address and phone number so that they don’t miss out on a vaccination appointment notification.

She added: “It is never too late to come forward and be vaccinated.”

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