WELSH education minister Kirsty Williams has praised the huge strides forward being made in Powys this week in terms of combatting coronavirus.

Powys’ third mass vaccination site opened in Builth Wells this week. The site, at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, has been acting as a mobile test centre throughout the pandemic, but has now become fully operational and acts in the same capacity as sites in Newtown and Bronllys.

The Powys sites are three of 35 vaccination centres that health minister Vaughan Gething says will be operational across Wales by the end of the month, with 22 believed to be up and running so far.

The opening of the mass vaccination centre in Builth follows on from the local health board thanking members of the military who have been playing their part in supporting the coronavirus vaccine role out in the county, while three Powys care homes announced earlier this week that they have already given all of residents the first of the two vaccine jabs.

Education minister Ms Williams tweeted on Thursday: “Receiving lots of positive feedback from constituents about the new mass vaccination centre at the show ground.

“Safe, efficient and caring. Thanks to @PTHBhealth and all those involved who are making this happen.

“Great progress also being made in vaccinating care home residents right across B&R, from Presteigne to Ystradgynlais, Rhayader to Hay. Fantastic effort from all involved.”

Steve Hughson, CEO of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, posted a behind the scenes video on his Twitter page on Wednesday afternoon, providing an insight into the scale of the operation on the showground.

“We’ve worked really hard to create this vaccination centre on the showground, despite the challenges we face as a society,” he said.

“When this gets fully up and running it’s going to make a great impact on this pandemic, which we need to get rid of before we can get events back on the showground.”

Powys Teaching Health Board has thanked members of the RAF who are playing their part in supporting the vaccine role-out.

A spokesman said: “We would like to express our thanks to the six members of the RAF who are supporting us.

“A long way from home, the unit is normally based at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire but has settled into helping with the effort to get as many people booked in for their vaccinations in Powys as possible.

“They have been helping in a wide range of areas, from logistics and supporting people when they come for vaccination to answering phones and booking people in.”

Every resident at Prestemede care home in Presteigne, Cartref Dyfi in Machynlleth and Cartref care home in Hay-on-Wye, meanwhile, have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccination, providing them with a high level of protection from the virus.

Shaw healthcare, which operates all three and nine other care homes in Powys, is aiming to have all its residents and staff receiving the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January – several weeks ahead of the Welsh Government’s target.

Do you want to volunteer to work at the new mass vaccination site in Builth? If so, PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations) are now recruiting volunteers to help with the additional workload expected. Basic training and PPE will be provided.

Anyone able to support the mass-vaccination programme in Powys can register on powys.volunteering-wales.net (search for Powys mass vaccination wayfinder marshals). For more information, contact PAVO on 01597 822191 or email volunteering@pavo.org.uk.