The first COVID-19 vaccinations have been given by Swansea Bay University Health Board.
The programme got underway at Morriston Hospital on Tuesday morning following the delivery of the first batch of 975 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccinations.
As the vaccine needs to be stored at a very low temperature and cannot be transported easily, frontline staff in the hospital will receive it first.
Consultant cardiologist Geraint Jenkins (left) was among the first 10 staff to be vaccinated.
He said: “It’s quite a privilege really. We have been waiting so long for this and it’s poignant that the same day as we are having the vaccine there’s a big outbreak of COVID and very high levels in Swansea and Neath.”
As we will not see the impact of the vaccine for some months and the pressure on the NHS is rising, Dr Jenkins urged the public to continue to take action to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Be sensible, have as little contact with other people as you possibly can and remember that regardless of what the rules say, there’s no reason to take any risks that you don’t need to take.”
Emergency department receptionist Emma Rohman also had the vaccination.
She said: “I feel proud. I am looking forward to things to come now.
“To the public I would say: stick to the rules. It’s not a big ask to keep everybody safe. It is upsetting to see people go down with COVID.”
Matron Cath Watts, immunisation and vaccination lead, said the vaccination will be rolled out to our other hospitals in the coming weeks, followed by three mass vaccination centres.
She said: “We are going to be at Morriston all week before rolling out the programme across the health board.
“We are operating a different system in terms of how we would normally organise flu. We are operating two pod systems. In each pod we’ve got 10 chairs to accommodate 10 frontline staff at a time.
“They are operating at a slightly different time because we need to be aware of social distancing and to maintain the flow.”
She added: “It’s a huge privilege to be involved in this today and I want to say a huge thank you to the team working behind the scenes on this project over the last few months.”
Pictured right: Cath Watts gives the vaccine to healthcare support worker Vanda Robbins, one of the first in the hospital to receive it.
More of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and a second vaccine are likely to be delivered in the coming weeks.
This will be offered to those who need it most, including other healthcare workers, care home staff and residents and the over 80s, through our hospitals, mass vaccination centres and a mobile in-reach service.
The public are being urged not to contact their GP practice or other NHS services to ask when they will have the vaccine, but wait to be invited.
Our doctors and nurses do not decide who gets the vaccine first. Decisions over priority are taken by the UK and Welsh governments based on the recommendations of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
As more vaccine becomes available, we’ll be offering it to successive age bands of adults. It may take a while to get to everybody. To help the NHS, please wait to be invited.