Covid vaccine: Can Wales meet its targets?

Covid vaccine: Can Wales meet its targets?

By Steve Duffy & Gwyndaf Hughes
BBC information

It is hoped 70% of the over-80s in Wales will get the primary dose of a Covid vaccine by the tip of the weekend.

But it may very well be a couple of days earlier than the official figures are revealed so we all know for positive.

First Minister Mark Drakeford stated, as a result of he has entry to “day-by-day” knowledge, it provides him confidence to know that by the tip of Sunday, the goal needs to be met

But with criticism of a slow start to its vaccination roll-out, has Wales been lagging behind different nations?

What can we inform from the newest knowledge?

Wales reported 21,882 first dose vaccinations on Friday – a 50% rise in its day by day whole on the day earlier than.

If this was maintained on the identical degree, it could see the goal of first doses of the primary 4 precedence teams being met by 14 February.

With 6.7% of the inhabitants getting the primary dose, that is now even a little bit forward of Scotland, primarily based on charges of inhabitants.

England has vaccinated 8.3% of its inhabitants. But comparisons are difficult and this is why.

There’s a lag within the figures we see in comparison with what is going on on

The vaccine figures we see each weekday are already a couple of days previous. It takes as much as 5 days after an individual receives a dose for the information to be truly revealed.

GPs are requested to enter knowledge as quickly as doable nevertheless it then must be checked and verified by the nationwide immunisation service and Public Health Wales – to make sure individuals aren’t double-counted for example – earlier than it’s truly revealed.

So there’s a built-in lag between what NHS Wales bosses are seeing occurring day by day and after we see the figures.

One well being official stated they have been under-reporting quite than leaving “any chance of over-reporting”.

That allows Mr Drakeford, from the data he has handy every day, to believe.

“Ministers every day see information, operational data that comes in from the health service, more or less, in real time,” he stated.

“The statistics that are published every day have a lag in them. They have to be collected formally from the health service.

“They must be interrogated, they must be high quality assured, after which they’re revealed as formal figures.”

How does this examine to England?

In England, “actual time” data is published the next day, which is then subject to changes if necessary at a later date.

So, the official figures from NHS England – showing a higher rate – are actually ahead in time compared to Wales.

It pointed to its website which states that data was “provisional”, showing doses, as reported by midnight on the date before publication.

“The weekly launch then supplies extra correct and detailed knowledge by dose and age,” it added.

Wales had 6% of people given a first dose by 21 January, England had reached 6% four days earlier – but without the publishing lag.

The figure for Friday was 8.3% of population in England and 6.7% in Wales. Four days ago, the figure in England was 6.2%.

Different approaches to start with – things will even out

Wales admittedly seemed to make a slow start last month, compared to other UK nations.

One of the explanations from health bosses in Wales is that it was a product of the different approaches taken by the UK nations to start with.

They expect things to even out between now and February.

Northern Ireland focused on mobile vaccination units to care homes, England focused on its primary care hubs, doing about two-thirds of vaccinations, while Wales started with mass vaccination centres before bringing in its network of GPs – increasing as more of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine became available.

Some GPs were frustrated they did not get supplies early on. This was because vaccine batches could not be split up and had to be sent in their original sized packs, but as supplies increased this issue was expected to be ironed out.

Health officials in Wales said GPs were condensing a lot of their vaccine clinics from Wednesday onwards and then into the weekends.

Vaccination figures are not published at weekends in Wales in any case. But with the data lag, we should see the proof in the pudding later in the week.

Where are individuals being vaccinated?

image copyrightSwansea Bay UHB
image captionGorseinon mass vaccination centre is one of three in the Swansea Bay health board area to open so far – it will focus on vaccinating people in their late 70s, in tandem with GP practices

A total of 650,000 in the four first priority groups are expected to get first doses of vaccines by mid-February.

Mass vaccination centres (MVCs) – about 40% will be delivered through this network of approximately 35 centres, with the Pfizer vaccine. These includes healthcare and care home workers, and in the weeks to come the over-70s and second doses. If there is more supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, some MVCs could be adapted to take this too.

GP practices – about 48% of vaccines are expected for the first priority groups from 250 GP centres, involving Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to the over-80s initially.

Mobile units will deliver about 5% to isolated people and those in care homes and 7% by a hybrid model with vaccine centres that might open for short time.

image copyrightCardiff and Vale UHB
image captionAll 60 GP practices in Cardiff and Vale health board will be part of the roll-out

The planning of the programme and how many vaccines will be delivered from these different areas of the health service will depend on supply, but health officials are actively planning for later opening centres – including possibly 24 hours in future.

They are looking to train opticians and dentists to help, as well as the likes of St John and 50 firefighters available to assist.

NHS Wales is using what has been called its own “seamless” booking and tracking system for the immunisation programme.

Updated four times a day, it manages supply and can see who is scheduled to be vaccinated and where.

It means appointments can be sent quickly, which can be used by GPs, to see who on their list may have been seen and to hopefully avoid double bookings.

So will we see an uplift this weekend?

Health officials certainly hope so. They say since the start of the roll-out, 180,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and 140,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses – 320,000 in all – have gone out to health boards, will “go into arms” and can begin to present up in figures.

The gap between supplies going out and actual vaccinations is getting smaller all the time, indicating a step-up.

Friday’s figures showed 30% of over-80s and 60% of care home residents had received a first dose – but this would be the lagged figure.

However, the change in daily numbers for the over-80s – another 11,500 in a day – suggested we are starting to see the results of the roll-out in GP clinics.

The hope is that 70% of over-80s and care home residents will have had the vaccine (or been offered it, they might refuse) by the weekend. The target is that all will be reached by the end of January.

If at the current rate – and if it stayed the same – that 70% target for the over-80s would be reached in about six days. But the trend is expected to be upward.

Those in charge of the programme say they can see a steep rise in the numbers of over-80s and care home staff getting their dose, while the health minister said he expected the programme to “considerably ramp up”.

Related Topics

  • Coronavirus vaccines

  • Welsh government
  • NHS Wales
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