Six thousand Covid-19 vaccine doses to be given in Wales by the end of this week
Six thousand doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be given to people in Wales by the end of this week, the Welsh Government has said.
Every health board across Wales will begin administering the vaccine on Tuesday, making the country one of the first to start protecting people against Covid-19.
Preparations for the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine began in June.
The start of the vaccination programmes comes days after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in the UK.
In the first wave of vaccine deliveries, Wales will receive almost 40,000 doses – enough for nearly 20,000 people.
A Welsh Government spokesman said that more than 6,000 doses would be given by the end of the week.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales had been the first country to receive supplies of the vaccine.
“Last week, Wales was the first country in the world to receive supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine,” Mr Drakeford said.
“Today, I’m very proud Wales has become one of the first countries in the world to begin the rollout of the vaccine to its population.
“2020 has been a very difficult year for all of us. This vaccine is a small glimmer of light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel.
“But the fact we have a vaccine does not mean we can stop doing those things that keep us safe.
“We must all continue to do our bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus: regular hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a face covering where required to protect yourself and others.”
The vaccine comes as eight local authority areas in Wales reported Covid-19 rates of more than 400 cases 100,000 people, with cases rising in 19 out of 22 areas.
Wales also now has its highest ever number of coronavirus-related patients in hospitals – 1,800 in total.
It also has the worst infection rate in the UK, just four weeks after the end of the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the vaccine’s development in less than a year was a “remarkable tribute” to scientists around the world.
“Vaccines can take many years, even decades, to develop,” Mr Gething said.
“The fact that a safe and effective vaccine has been developed in less than year is a remarkable tribute to all scientists and researchers around the world who have worked so hard to find a vaccine for Covid-19.
“We have been working really hard to plan for its arrival. Today, the first people in Wales will receive the vaccine. This is the positive news we have all been waiting for.
“We will now do everything we can to ensure we successfully deliver the Covid-19 vaccine across Wales in the days, weeks and months ahead.”