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Face masks and social distancing: Due to the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities, we strongly encourage healthcare staff and visitors to wear a face covering in all of our settings, particularly in clinical areas and those with high footfall. Please exercise a common-sense approach and personal responsibility to help us reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our patients, workforce and services. In addition to wearing a face covering, it is important to continue to maintain social distancing where possible. Thank you for your continued support and co-operation at this time. We continue to regularly review our advice based on prevalence in our communities and our hospitals.

Vaccination newsletter 21st of April 2021

Close up of a vial labelled Covid vaccine held between two fingers on a gloved hand.

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly newsletter, 21st of April 2021, which brings you up to date with where we are with the roll out of the Covid vaccines across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

It’s been another tremendous week in the vaccination programme with thousands more people receiving both first and second doses.

However, national figures tell us that while the gap in vaccine take-up between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME) is narrowing, it’s still at least 10% lower in all BAME age groups.

We don’t want anyone left behind so together with our partners, which include faith and community leaders, we are trying to allay the concerns and anxieties which might lead some to decline the offer of vaccination.

As we are in the month of Ramadan, some in the Muslim community may be concerned about having the vaccine while fasting.

As part of efforts to address this Saifur Rahaman, Secretary of Neath Port Talbot Black and Minority Ethnic Community Association, was videoed having the vaccination during daylight hours. Islamic scholars and medical experts have confirmed that this does not invalidate the fast.

Go to YouTube to watch the video of Saifur Rahaman having the Covid vaccine at Margam Orangery and his appeal to others in BAME communities.

There’s plenty more to update you with this week, so let’s get cracking.

 

Latest figures

Please note: Figures correct as of 10am on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021. These figures are for the Swansea Bay University Health Board area, not the whole of Wales.

1st dose: 213,016

2nd dose: 73,571

Running total (1st and 2nd doses): 286,587

 

Latest news

Reserve list Following a temporary suspension due to a high volume of applications, our vaccination reserve list has reopened for those aged 18 to 29 and for those in older age groups as part of our ‘leave no-one behind’ campaign.

We are particularly focusing on those aged 18-29 as new safety guidance states under 30s should be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. In our case we want to target any appointment slots which come up at short notice for Pfizer vaccine initially at this age group. 

Follow this link to apply. 

Please note that being on a reserve list doesn’t automatically mean that you will be called for a vaccine ahead of your scheduled time as we are using our reserve list to manage missed appointments and cancellations.  However over 2,000 people have already been called.

30 and over and already on the reserve list?

We’re still working through the large volume of applications from this age group and will continue to call people in when appointment slots become available at short notice. However, we have also started routine first-dose scheduling of those 39 and under from this week, so you may find your routine appointment comes through first.

40 and over and still haven’t had your first dose?

Email: SBU.Covidbookingteam@wales.nhs.uk

 

Queue jumping?

We know some of you have asked why younger people on the reserve list have been called sooner than those who are older.

For the reasons set out above, we are prioritising those aged 18 to 29 for Pfizer slots which become available at short notice. This is in accordance with the latest safety guidance from the JCVI.

However, we are still carrying out routinely scheduled Pfizer first doses for those aged 30-39.

 

Routine 1st and 2nd dose appointments We have started routine 1st dose scheduling for those aged 39 to 30. Current supply levels mean they will be having the Pfizer vaccine.

From Monday, April 26th, we will be giving 2nd doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 79 and below at both our Margam and Canolfan Gorseinon Mass Vaccination Centres. We’ll then work our way down through the age groups.

GP practices continue their 2nd dose appointments, mainly for those deemed high or moderate risk, i.e. extremely clinically vulnerable or with an underlying health condition. A small number of over 80s and care home residents are also yet to receive their 2nd doses.

 

Canolfan Gorseinon Mass Vaccination Centre

We’d like to reassure the community that the Canolfan Gorseinon Mass Vaccination Centre will reopen on Monday, April 26th.

The centre will be open from Monday to Wednesday next week to give second doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by appointment only and we are committed to continuing to use Gorseinon after that for second doses. Opening hours will depend on vaccine supply and the number of doses due.

Remember, vaccinations are given by appointment only. If you’re waiting for your second dose you will automatically be recalled although not necessarily to the same venue, although we try to do this wherever possible.  

The current closure of Canolfan Gorseinon is temporary due to an expected and well publicised national dip in vaccine supply, which we have planned for.

During this time we are maximising the use of our other Mass Vaccination Centres (MVCs) at the Bay Field Hospital and The Orangery, Margam.

The temporary closure will not prevent anyone from having their second dose of the Covid vaccine.

 

New guidance on vaccinations for pregnant women Vaccine advisory group the JCVI has stated ALL pregnant women should be offered a Covid vaccination in their respective age groups.

We’ll issue a full update and any instructions soon. In the meantime, if you're offered an appointment and are pregnant, let the booking team know.

 

Volunteers aged 18 to 39 needed for Covid vaccine trial Swansea Bay University Health Board and Public Health Wales are looking for volunteers to participate in the latest clinical trial studying a vaccine against Covid-19.

It is the first study to test a plant-derived Covid-19 vaccine candidate, and will evaluate the efficacy and safety of the Coronavirus-Like Particle Covid-19 Vaccine (CoVLP).

The vaccine has already been through early phase human studies and now requires testing on a large scale and a study involving 1,500 people across the UK is starting. The aim is to recruit volunteers between 18 – 39 years old and who live in Swansea and the local areas.

The study will involve volunteers making a maximum of 10 visits to the study site over approximately 26 months. Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed and volunteers will receive payment for participating in this study.

Dr Brendan Healy, Principal Investigator for the Medicago trial and Consultant in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Public Health Wales, said: “Whilst it is encouraging that we already have access to three vaccines in the UK it is very important that we continue to develop vaccines so there is greater choice and an ability to select vaccines based on their individual benefits.

"I am delighted Swansea Bay will be recruiting in partnership with Public Health Wales into the next phase of this vaccine’s development.

"I would like to encourage people living in the Swansea Bay and the surrounding areas to consider taking part.”

Go to this website if you’d like to find out more and sign up for the vaccine study.

 

And finally…We appreciate the huge efforts everyone has made to stick to lockdown when it was in place, wider Covid restrictions and in having the vaccine.

It’s saved lives and brought case numbers down.

But it might be tempting to think that’s all behind us now as pubs and restaurants prepare to reopen for customers outdoors and other attractions do likewise.

However the evidence shows the possibility of a third wave remains and if we move too fast and infections start to rise, we could see restrictions return.

No one wants to see that. So please remember the golden rules – which still apply even if you’ve had your vaccine: Socially distance with people you don’t live with, wear a face mask when in enclosed public places, wash your hands often and ventilate indoor areas well.

 

That’s all for this week. Many thanks for reading.

We’ll catch up again next week.

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