Anglesey: IT issues blamed as several older people yet to receive booster vaccine invite
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Additional vaccination clinics will be held on Anglesey amid concerns that several older and more vulnerable people are yet to receive an invite for their booster jabs.
Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday, MS Rhun ap Iorwerth noted that “far lower numbers” – including those over the age of 80 – had received their third jab in the Amlwch and Holyhead areas with figures lagging far behind other parts of the region.
The health board has blamed IT issues on the particular delays across north and western Anglesey, meaning that several of the oldest and most vulnerable people were yet to receive their invite.
Officials have promised those affected that appointment letters will be sent out shortly.
Noting the “lack of consistency,” Mr ap Iorwerth said after Tuesday’s plenary session, “Serious concerns about the number of people who have been invited for their booster vaccination in the Amlwch and Holyhead areas have been brought to my attention in the last couple of days.
“It appears that both areas are far behind everywhere else in offering the booster vaccination, and the health board have told me that this is due to an IT system issue that has since been rectified.
“I’m pleased to hear that invitation letters will now be sent out in priority order, and those still waiting for their invitation should hear from the health board shortly.
“The Health Minister also told me that her officials would be looking into the matter to ensure that any areas lagging behind can be addressed as a matter of priority – it is vital that the vaccination programme does not fall behind and that people receive their booster in a timely manner.”
Earlier this month it was confirmed that the third, or “booster” jab would be offered to all 40’s in Wales, with the roll-out designed to top-up people’s protection and limit the spread of the virus during winter.
For some time they have been offered to those over the age of 50, frontline NHS and social care staff and people who are extremely vulnerable to Covid.
In response Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s vaccination programme manager, Graham Rustom, said: “We became aware last week that some older people had not received their booster invitations in priority order.
“Having investigated this situation, we identified an issue with the information templates that have to be filled in to generate the appointment letters, which has affected a small number of practices in Anglesey.
“The error has now been rectified, and additional clinics have been set up to redress the situation. Appointments have been allocated in priority order and individuals who have been affected will receive invitation letters shortly.
“Our mobile teams are continuing to undertake home visits to those who are housebound although this is, inevitably a lengthy process given the geography that we have to cover.”