The first COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled-out across Wales from today (Tuesday), the Welsh Government has confirmed.
Wales was the first country in the world to receive supplies of the vaccine last week, and has today become one of the first to begin protecting people against coronavirus.
The Welsh Government and NHS have been preparing for today since June.
The start of the vaccination programme comes just days after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the first Covid-19 vaccine for use in the UK, confirming its safety and effectiveness for mass vaccination centre use, based on a detailed independent expert review of the results of largescale clinical trials.
Some 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available across the UK, with Wales getting its allocation based on its population. In the first wave of vaccine deliveries, Wales will receive almost 40,000 doses, enough for nearly 20,000 people.
All health boards will start administering vaccines to care home staff, those over 80 years and frontline health and social care workers most at risk – over 6000 doses will be given by the end of this week.
Despite the specific storage and preparation challenges posed by the vaccine, work continues to ensure a safe deployment of effective vaccine to care home residents.
First Minister Mark Drakeford, said: “Last week, Wales was the first country in the world to receive supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine. Today, I’m very proud Wales has become one of the first countries in the world to begin the roll-out 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.”
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Vaccines can take many years, even decades, to develop. 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.”