Care home residents in Wales have begun to receive COVID vaccinations under a pilot scheme rolled-out by the government.
A care home in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be the first in Wales to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine today with other services to follow in additional Health Boards later this week.
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “Following Wales’ successful roll-out of the first COVID vaccine last week, we are starting the care home resident phase of the programme carefully; however we need to continue to make sure we can safely transport the vaccine to people who can’t come to clinics.
“If all goes well this week, we will start the roll out of vaccinations ahead of Christmas, bringing a new level of protection to some of our most vulnerable people.
“Our NHS staff have done a fantastic job to get this first vaccine out in a safe and timely manner. I’m extremely grateful for their hard work on this and across the course of the pandemic.”
At first the vaccine will be issued to care homes in proximity to hospital pharmacies, but it is planned for it to be available in other settings in coming weeks, once learnings from the care home pilot have been captured.
Dr Gill Richardson, Chair of Wales’ COVID-19 Vaccine Programme, said: “The delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine to care home staff and residents has always been a priority for the Welsh Government. We have been working for months to meet the challenges of distribution and believe we have a feasible solution which we will deploy at pilot sites from Wednesday. Care home staff have been offered immunisation at Health Board centres whilst awaiting the mobile model to commence.
“We are now very confident NHS hospitals can safely repackage and transport vaccine to care home without compromising its stability.”