NHS and council leaders have written to every householder in the Swansea Bay area to highlight action being taken to vaccinate the most vulnerable in our communities.
Tens of thousands of residents across the area are due to be vaccinated in the coming weeks to help protect them and their loved-ones from Covid-19.
Thousands of frontline social care and health board staff have been getting the vaccine since before Christmas and elderly people living in care homes across the area are next in line.
Similar letters are being sent to every household in Wales over the next couple of weeks on behalf of the Welsh Government.
The letter provides information on the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccines currently available in Wales, how the vaccines are being made available and in what way people will be invited to an appointment. People are being urged to wait their turn and not to contact NHS or health services to request a COVID-19 vaccine.
People will be advised, when they are invited for their vaccination, where this will take place – which could be at a hospital, a vaccination centre or their GP surgery.
In the Swansea Bay area two mass vaccination centres (MVC) have already been set up at the Bay field hospital on Fabian Way and at The Orangery at Margam Park. A third MVC in Gorseinon is due to come on stream later this week.
In addition to that 49 GP surgeries across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot will also be administering the vaccine to patients in the coming weeks.
Letters dropping on doorsteps in the area outline how the vaccination rollout will operate. Detailed information about what people need to do will be included when they are called for their vaccination appointment.
Dr Keith Reid, Executive Director for Public Health in Swansea Bay, said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme ever launched in our area. Staff are pulling out all the stops to get as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“Our message to residents is: we know how important getting a vaccination is to you and when it’s your turn, we will get in touch. Please don’t call your GP surgery or local hospital as they are very busy caring for patients and getting vaccinations done. Be assured, when it’s your turn we’ll contact you.”
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “Vaccination offers our best hope of a return to the normality we are all looking forward to. Thousands of people in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot have already had their jab and thousands more will be getting theirs in the coming weeks.
“Vaccinations are safe, effective and save lives and we know lots of people want theirs as soon as possible. That’s why we’re continuing to accelerate the vaccination programme so many more can join those who’ve already got protection.”
Rob Jones, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “Vaccination roll-out is very good news for us, our families and our communities. But let’s remember that we are not out of the pandemic yet.
“The vaccination programme offers a real reason for hope that we can overcome the virus together and, when it’s done, we can get together with our friends and family once again.
“But in the meantime it’s essential that we continue to follow the Welsh Government rules and the hands-face-space routine. Please minimise your contact with others and don’t mix with those you don’t live with.
“Don’t use exercise or essential shopping as an excuse to meet friends and family. We understand it’s difficult and what we’re asking isn’t what we’d all wish we could do.
“But we can all play our part in reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives by simply following the hands-face-space routine and waiting our turn for the vaccine.”
Across Wales there are two phases of the vaccine roll-out and within the first phase vaccines will be given according to age and risk of serious illness if someone catches coronavirus. The groups in this first phase – accounting for 1.5m people – represent around 99% of preventable deaths from coronavirus.
It is hoped that every eligible adult in Wales will be offered a vaccination by the autumn, as set out in the Welsh Government’s Vaccination Strategy.