Wales left with mountain to climb to meet vaccination targets

Just under 40% of those aged over 80 in Wales have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to new figures released by Public Health Wales.

In total, 38.7% of those aged over 80 have received their first dose of the vaccine, figures published on Saturday showed.

It is still some way off the target, with Health Minister Vaughan Gething saying previously he expected 70% of this group to have been offered the jab by the end of Monday.

Under the Welsh Government’s target, 70% of care home residents and care home staff should also have been vaccinated by January 25.

Greater progress has been made with care home residents, with 63.2% receiving the jab, while 72.3% of care home staff have already being offered their first dose.

There were a further 1,079 cases of coronavirus recorded in Wales by 9am on Friday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 186,915.

Public Health Wales (PHW) also reported a further 27 deaths as of Friday morning, bringing the death toll during the pandemic to 4,486.

Across Wales a total of 240,547 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered, up from 28,230 the previous day.

By Friday, 469 people had been given the second jab – up from 54 on the previous day’s figures.

The public were warned to continue to follow lockdown rules, particularly in light of the UK variant of the virus.

Dr Chris Williams, incident director for the pandemic at PHW, said: “As reported yesterday, there is evidence which suggests that the UK variant of concern may lead to a higher risk of death than the non-variant.

Coronavirus – Thu Dec 17, 2020
Coronavirus – Thu Dec 17, 2020

“We continue to investigate and respond to the spread of the variant and its impact in Wales.

“Evidence is still emerging and more work is under way to fully understand how it behaves.”

Dr Williams added that it could be “some time” before the vaccine rollout brings the pandemic under control.

On Friday evening, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said he had “confidence” the Welsh Government would meet its initial vaccination targets.

Mr Drakeford said: “Because we see day-to-day up-to-date data, that is what gives us confidence to know that by the end of Sunday 70% of over-80s and people in care homes will have been offered the vaccine, and the vaccine delivered.”

The Welsh Government has been under fire for allegedly overstating the progress of the rollout.

Last Monday, Mr Drakeford mistakenly said he believed 40% of people aged 80 and above had received a jab.

Mr Gething then told the Senedd on Tuesday that the “the majority” of those over 80 had received it.

The health minister later apologised for making an “an innocent mistake”.