As 2021 begins to unfold it may appear that little has changed as we are still in lock-down, Covid infection rates remain at alarming levels and the unprecedented pressure on our National Health Service continue. However, the great news is the much anticipated Covid vaccine has arrived here in Swansea Bay!
Also, our vaccination teams have visited care homes in our area to vaccinate residents and staff – they were given priority as they are amongst the most vulnerable to this dreadful virus – and, with the help of all 49 GP surgeries in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot we hoped to have vaccinated all those aged 80 and over by the end of January.
We have also opened three mass vaccination centres – in Margam Orangery, Bay Field Hospital on Fabian Way and Canolfan Gorseinon – to begin offering all the over 70s in our area vaccination by mid-February.
The vaccines are being given in order of a nationally agreed vulnerability criteria:
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- all those 65 years of age and over
- all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality (and carers)
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
The key milestones for vaccination are:
- Mid-February – care home residents and staff; frontline healthcare and social care workers; clinically extremely vulnerable people; all over 70s
- Spring – People with an underlying health condition. All over-50s
- Autumn – all adults in Wales (including those aged 49 and under)
Please DO NOT ring your GP surgery or hospital.
When your turn comes you will be contacted directly with details. If you are unable to keep an appointment please let us know immediately so we can offer it to someone else and reschedule.
And remember, the vaccination is free, so we will never ask you for any bank or financial details (beware of scammers.)
Director of Public Health for Swansea Bay University Health Board, Dr Keith Reid, said:
“This vaccination programme is a massive and complex undertaking for everyone involved.
“I’d particularly like to thank our colleagues in local GP practices who didn’t hesitate to volunteer to take the vaccines into care homes and acted swiftly as soon as they had the supplies.
“Residents can be reassured that everyone in the NHS and local councils are working together to ensure the Covid vaccinations are given to the most vulnerable members of our communities as quickly, conveniently and safely as possible.”
Please remember that it takes 3-4 four weeks for it to become effective – so don’t skip out of the surgery and hug your nearest and dearest.
It is important that you continued to obey the social distancing rules, wash your hands regul-arly and wear a face covering.
If you start to display any signs of the virus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – please self-isolate immediately and call 01639 862757 to book a Covid test.
We are, of course, dependant on others outside our area for the continued supply of vaccines, so any delays are out of our control but there will be enough for everyone.
We would also like to remind all who qualify for an annual flu vaccination to still have it.
Dr Iestyn Davies (left), of Cwmtawe Medical Group in Clydach, said:
“I consider myself extremely privileged to have been able to administer the first vaccination to one of our oldest patients, who gladly rolled his sleeve up and afterwards declared the quick and simple process as being painless.”
Calling for patience from those still waiting he said: “I totally understand that so many of you are tired and weary and are desperate to be vaccinated, but please be patient, as it is a herculean task to get around everyone.”
He added: “Please do not fall victim to false news and think that the vaccine is dangerous – even though it has been developed at an incredible pace it has passed all the necessary safety tests and is the best shot we have of defeating Covid-19.”