Covid: Volunteers in Maesteg clear snow for vulnerable to get vaccine

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image copyrightRoss Thomas
image captionVolunteers responded to an appeal on social media on Saturday night

Volunteers helped to clear up to 7cm of snow at a community hospital so Covid-19 vaccines could be given to about 300 vulnerable patients.

More than a dozen people cleared the car park at Maesteg community hospital in Bridgend county on Sunday where the Pfizer-BioNtech jab is being given.

People with brushes and shovels came to the rescue after a Facebook appeal and Bridgend council provided a plough.

One local councillor said their community spirit "knows no bounds".

The Maesteg area had been at or near the top of Wales' Covid case rate chart for a few weeks before Christmas - with an infection rate of more than 1300 cases per 100,000 at its height.

Vaccinations were delayed for about an hour on Sunday and Maesteg West councillor Ross Thomas, who helped organise the clear-up, said it would have been a "disaster" to have cancelled the appointments.

Covid jabs at four other locations in south Wales had to be cancelled after snow cause widespread disruption across the UK.

And Mr Thomas praised the local community for preventing their centre from also falling victim to the weather.

"With a few Facebook call-outs we had a dozen or so volunteers within the hour together with surgery staff, a number of the GPs," Mr Thomas told BBC Radio Wales.

image copyrightRoss Thomas
image captionCouncillor Ross Thomas said there would be some aching backs on Monday morning

"The grounds of the hospital are not small by any stretch of the imagination. It was a valiant effort over two-and-a-half hours to ensure we could allow access to Maesteg community hospital.

"It's thanks to them that 300 more people in the 80 and over priority group in the Llynfi valley received their jab yesterday."

Another 40 vulnerable patients will receive their Covid jabs on Monday.

Mr Thomas said the spirit in his community "knows no bounds" and added: "People rally round, it's a sense of belonging, its genuinely instilled in our DNA in Maesteg and it was on show.

image copyrightRoss Thomas
image captionBridgend council provided vehicles to assist the volunteers

"Not only did people want to help, I think it's clear there's anxiety in the community about the virus.

"Ahead of Christmas some local wards here in the Llynfi valley had the highest case rates in Europe.

"There was the realisation yesterday that it wasn't just shovelling snow out of the way, it was about getting on top of this virus and ensuring the most vulnerable people in this community have a fighting chance moving forward."

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