VACCINATION of people against Covid-19 is on track in Powys according to health chiefs.

As of, Wednesday morning, January 27,  16,681 out of a population of just over 132,000 in Powys have received a jab.

Members of Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) were given the update at their meeting and were also asked to formally approve the vaccination roll out plan.

They were given a presentation of how the roll out of the vaccination programme had started in Powys by PTHB Director of Planning and Performance, Hayley Thomas.

She explained that they bulk of their efforts will be centred on the three mass vaccination sites, at Maldwyn Leisure Centre in Newtown, the Roayal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells and the Concert Hall at Bronllys Hospital.

This is where Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is available and can be used in the “most effective and efficient way”.

Ms Thomas added that all 16 GP practices in the county were now involved in the drive to vaccinate people.

Discussions are also taking place to see whether community pharmacists can join the drive to vaccinate the population,

Ms Thomas said: “It needs to be an agile plan as we are continually reviewing the guidance we receive from the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales  (PHW) and the UK Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

“As of this morning we have vaccinated 16,681 people, which is a really good start, and we are making headway towards delivering against the key target set within the Welsh Government national vaccination strategy.

“We have three mass vaccination centres and all 16 of our GP practices have started vaccinating this week, they have nearly delivered 2,500 vaccines.

“There is a clear target in the plan to prioritise care home residents and staff by January 31 and again we are making excellent progress for those who are able to receive the vaccine.”

Ms Thomas explained that those care home residents who are currently ill, or had received a positive Covid-19 test and were isolating, would be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The Board heard that PTHB has now started sending out appointment letters and phoning up people in the extremely vulnerable category as well as the first four categories.

Ms Thomas said: “To date we have had nearly 5,000 of over 80 year olds vaccinated, and we have plans in place to make sure we continue to make progress to deliver against the mid-February target.”

But there have been challenges to overcome.

Ms Thomas told the board: “A really important factor is the demographics which means for us, in those first four cohorts we have nearly 40,000 people.

“That accounts for around 33 per cent of the population, so it’s a significant number we need to get through the process.”

She also pointed out that the population in Montgomeryshire is far larger than Radnorshire and Brecknockshire.

PTHB chief executive Carol Shillabeer said “We have had a really good start in Powys, the scale and pace of this programme is huge, we are asking people to be patient with us and they already have been, and mention that thanks – this is very much a collective effort.”

Board member and Powys County Councillor, Mather Dorrance (Brecon St John – Labour), said:  “The way this has been stepped up in such a short space of time and building all the infrastructure is nothing short of inspirational.”

The board approved the plan.

The target set by the Welsh Government is that by the middle of February all those in priority one to four groups are vaccinated.

They are:

  • Residents of care homes for older adults
  • people aged 80 and over including those living in care homes and frontline health and care workers
  • People oer the age of 75:
  • People of 70 years old an over and clinically extremely vulnerable people – who would be shielding to protect themselves from infection.