Wales ‘confident’ of vaccinating top four priority groups this weekend

Adam Hale, PA Wales Correspondent

The Welsh Government has said it is “confident” that Wales will have given coronavirus vaccines to “every single person that wants a jab” in its top four priority groups by the end of the weekend.

Out of the 740,350 people in Wales’ first four priority groups, only 56,253 were outstanding to be vaccinated as of Wednesday evening, with the latest vaccination data set be published on Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson told the PA news agency that by using its real-time data the Government expects to reach the target by the end of Friday.

But they said there may be “mopping up” over the weekend to arrange appointments for those from the priority groups who had missed or previously refused a slot.

The spokesperson said: “As of Wednesday at 10pm, the number of people who had been jabbed from that group recorded in the system was 684,097, which is 93.01% of the total group. That left 56,253.

“We haven’t had yesterday’s figures through, but we can confidently half the remaining 56,000 based on Thursday, and today we will have mopped up the rest.

They added: “With yesterday’s figures and today’s figures, we are confident that we will have jabbed the remaining 56,000, with a little bit of mopping up over the weekend.

“Every single person that wants a jab will have had a jab by today or certainly over the next couple of days.”

People in the first four priority groups who had missed or previously refused vaccination appointments would be contacted this weekend to arrange new slots, the spokesperson said.

They added: “There will be appointments going out over the weekend because there will have been mopping up.

“We’re contacting proactively the people who may have changed their minds or may have been ill or may have, for some reason, not been able to take up the appointment, just so we can get them in over the weekend and give them the jab.”

It comes after First Minister Mark Drakeford said earlier on Friday that everyone in the top four priority groups in Wales will have received “invitations to come in” for a Covid-19 jab “at the very latest over the weekend”.

Mr Drakeford was asked how many people in those top four priority groups would not have had a vaccine by the end of the weekend in Wales.

He told BBC Breakfast: “It will be a very small number – we’ve already completed 92% of all the people in those priority groups, thanks to the amazing efforts of our NHS and other staff.

“There will be some people who were ill when they were first offered who will need to be rebooked, there will be some people who chose not to have a vaccine when they were first offered it who may have changed their minds.”

The Welsh Government previously set itself the target of offering vaccines to those in the first four priority groups – residents and staff in care homes for older adults, frontline health and social care workers, all people 70 years old and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals – by the middle of February.

On Wednesday, Wales became first UK nation to vaccinate more than 20% of its population, and one of the first countries in the world to do so, but Mr Drakeford has confirmed a planned reduction in vaccine supply is expected in Wales in the next few weeks.

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