Frontline NHS staff in Wales struggling to access Covid vaccine, medical survey suggests
Frontline NHS staff in Wales are struggling to get access to the recently launched Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, according to a medical survey.
People over 80 and care home personnel have been prioritised during the first wave of vaccinations and according to some estimates, less than five per cent of the available vaccine is being allocated to NHS staff.
Over 22,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine in Wales in the last two weeks but respondents to a new UK-wide survey suggest almost two-thirds of medics have not yet had the injection.
In the survey of 1,316 doctors by EveryDoctor, half also described the delivery of the vaccine to the NHS as “ad hoc” and a third said have no idea when they will be offered it.
According to The Guardian, Len Richards, the chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University health board, warned of “an indisputable supply and demand constraint” in an email and said access to the jab was being rationed because “the supply is so low”.
“I understand that there is a great deal of frustration among colleagues with regards to access to the coronavirus vaccine. I can fully understand and appreciate that frustration,” he wrote.
On Boxing Day, the health board, which runs University Hospital of Wales, put out a plea for assistance in its critical care department due to staff shortages and the high numbers of patients admitted with coronavirus.
Public Health Wales’ Dr Giri Shankar told BBC Wales earlier today that the health system was under enormous and unprecedented pressure due to the pandemic and said that between 10-12% of the workforce were unwell in the run up to Christmas.
A further 15 people have died due to coronavirus and 2,273 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the latest report from Public Health Wales.
Aneurin Bevan health board area recorded eight new deaths since yesterday’s update and there were three in Cwm Taf Morgannwg and two in both the Swansea Bay and Cardiff and Vale areas.
The highest number of new cases in Wales were in Cardiff, where 258 people tested positive for the virus since yesterday. The capital has recorded 2,254 new infections in the seven days up to 23 December. Rhondda Cynon Taf reported 238 cases yesterday and Bridgend 197.
Merthyr Tydfil has the highest weekly case rate in Wales with 1,022.8 per 100,000 people up to 23 December, just ahead of Bridgend at 1,021.4.
Bridgend has the highest proportion of positive tests for the virus over the week at 29.5% per 100,000 tests.