Health board staff verbally abused as tensions rise due to demand for vaccine
Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter
Health board workers have suffered increased abuse from the public as tensions have arisen around the availability of the coronavirus vaccine.
A health board said its switchboard and other staff have recently been abused by members of the public concerning frustration around the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.
A spokesperson for Cwm Taf Morgannwg (CTM) University Health Board said the issues mainly consisted of verbal abuse such as “swearing and aggressive tone of voice and insults”.
In a statement released on social media, the health board said: “There has been an increase in abuse towards our switchboard operators and other employees as we all wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to be fully rolled out across our health board.
“We understand concerns but urge our service users to wait to be invited to receive their vaccine.”
‘Do not ask GP’
The first Covid-19 vaccine, by Pfizer Biotech, is currently being distributed across Wales.
Care home staff and residents, health and social care workers and people aged 80 and over will be be first priority for the vaccine, which must be administered via two doses.
CTM Health Board will begin vaccinating people aged 80 and over in the New Year, most likely from an immunisation centre.
Health boards are currently working on setting-up centres for distributing the Pfizer Biotech vaccine, which needs to be stored at low temperatures.
According to CTM Health Board, other groups of people will have access to the vaccine once more supplies are available and additional vaccines are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
The health board is urging people to wait to be invited to receive the vaccine and not ask their GP or pharmacist for it.
Employers or health boards will invite people in the priority groups to receive a vaccine appointment, along with information about the vaccines and where they must go for the procedure.
CTM Health Board said: “There are plans in place for people who are housebound and for care homes to be vaccinated as soon as safely possible, with the approved vaccine being safely taken to them using a mobile service, once cleared for this purpose.”