Covid: Wales' vaccine figures show 'baffling' local differences

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image copyrightCarmarthenshire County Council
image captionUp to Wednesday night, 1,034,141 people had been given their first dose in Wales - 32.8% of the population.

Only one care home resident has been fully vaccinated in Ceredigion and nine over-80s in Pembrokeshire, Public Health Wales figures show.

While nearly half of Torfaen's over-80s have had two doses of the Covid jab, it is only 0.1% in Pembrokeshire and 0.4% in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Hywel Dda University Health Board said a gap of more than eight weeks gives better "long-term protection".

The data gives a breakdown by local authority for the first time.

The latest figures released by Public Health Wales on Thursday show disparities between the numbers of people who have received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine across Wales.

According to the data, this does not appear to be a rural issue as Powys has fully vaccinated 41% of its care home residents and a third of its over-80s.

Care Forum Wales, a group that represents more than 450 care homes in Wales, has said that while the Covid vaccine rollout in Wales "has been a real success story", these new figures are "baffling and a cause for concern."

"Whilst the first dose will provide a good degree of immunity, it is important that people are able to have the second jab to provide better protection, particularly in the case of people aged over 80 who are generally more likely to be frail and therefore more vulnerable," said chairman Mario Kreft.

He added he would be seeking assurances that there will not be "extreme fluctuations in future so that the distribution is fairer and more even across Wales".

How is my local authority performing?

Nearly half of the over-80s age group has been fully vaccinated in Torfaen and a third in Newport, but this drops to just 0.1% in Pembrokeshire, where just nine people in this age group have got a second dose.

  • More than 2,800 elderly care home residents have been fully vaccinated across Wales, but this ranges from 159 in Merthyr (67.1%) and 384 in Rhondda Cynon Taf (48.2%) to just one in Ceredigion (0.3%).
  • Ten per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds have been given both doses across Wales - but the uptake ranges from 43% in Torfaen and 34.5% in Caerphilly to 0.3% in Ceredigion and 0.4% in Pembrokeshire, according to the data covering up to Sunday.
  • More than 2,800 elderly care home residents have been fully vaccinated across Wales, but this ranges from 159 in Merthyr (67.1%) and 384 in Rhondda Cynon Taf (48.2%) to just one in Ceredigion (0.3%).
  • Ten per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds have been given both doses across Wales - but the uptake ranges from 43% in Torfaen and 34.5% in Caerphilly to 0.3% in Ceredigion and 0.4% in Pembrokeshire, according to the data covering up to Sunday.

Age Cymru said it is "important" older people get their second dose "within the recommended timescales to get maximum protection from the vaccine" so they can start "to live their lives again and re-engage with communities."

"We will monitor the situation closely to make sure that targets for the second dose are being met across Wales," said chief executive Victoria Lloyd.

What does the health board say?

Ros Jervis, director of Public Health at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: "We are really pleased that we have been able to protect our community by providing the first vaccine dose to more than a third of our population, the second highest rate for this figure in Wales.

"In recent weeks, the health board's mass vaccination centres have focused on delivering second vaccine doses to care home, health and social care workers in priority groups 1 and 2 using the Pfizer vaccine. Local recorded figures show 57% of care home staff, 70% of health care workers and 56% of social care workers are fully vaccinated.

"Our GPs are also working hard to provide our communities with the vaccine. They are currently offering first vaccination to our largest priority group (group 6) of 16-64-year-olds with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers."

She added that GPs will offer second vaccination doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine within 12 weeks of the first dose.

"There is evidence that a gap greater than eight weeks between doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca is a better regime for long term protection for this particular vaccine," she said.

Which health board has carried out the most vaccinations?

According to the figures released on Thursday by Public Health Wales, the percentage of first doses given ranges from 27.7% of the population in Cardiff and Vale to nearly 40% in Powys.

Betsi Cadwaladr has completed the most full vaccine courses - 43,535 by 7 March and Powys the highest proportion (7.3%).

Hywel Dda has completed a third of its first doses - the second highest in Wales - but the lowest proportion of full vaccines (4.1%).

When it comes to full vaccines for priority groups, Cwm Taf Morgannwg has completed doses for nearly half its care home residents, but this is only 1.6% in the Hywel Dda health board area.

Both Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay has fully vaccinated around a quarter of 75 to 79-year-olds, but this is 0.5% in Hywel Dda and 1.5% in Cwm Taf Morgannwg.

Cardiff and Vale has fully vaccinated the most people in the 70 to 74 age group, at 15.1%.

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