A FIRST dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has now been offered to all eligible adults in North Wales - and those who haven’t yet come forward are being urged to book an appointment online.

As of June 7, 486,924 eligible adults (83 per cent) had received a first dose of the vaccine, with thousands more booked in over the coming weeks.

The remaining 87,500 people are being urged to come forward, as the spread of the Delta variant continues to threaten a planned return to normality.

A new booking form on the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board website has been introduced to make it easier for people to book a first dose at a time and date that is convenient for them.

Those who are unable to book online are able to call the health board’s dedicated COVID-19 Vaccination Contact Centre on 03000 840004.

Dr Jim McGuigan, a Flintshire GP and Assistant Medical Director for the East Area of BCUHB, said: “We’re urging those who have not yet received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to book an appointment on our website as soon as possible.

“Vaccination provides the best protection from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, and it is our best way to get back to normality, avoiding a potential third wave lockdown.

“Evidence shows that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective against the strain of the Delta variant of COVID-19 after two doses, so it’s very important that people continue to attend their second dose appointments when invited.

“As lockdown measures continue to ease, proof of vaccination may be required to enable you to enjoy a range of social activities, such as holidaying abroad, or attending concerts, festivals or sporting events.

“It’s never too late to come forward for vaccination, and we’re determined not to leave anybody behind. Please don’t worry if you’ve not able to book your appointment just yet, or you turned down the vaccine when it was first offered and have since changed your mind.

“If you have any concerns about receiving the vaccine, please book and attend your appointment, so we can take the time to discuss any concerns you have, before you decide whether or not to go ahead.”

Gill Harris, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, added that a range of actions to encourage people to come forward for vaccination have so far received an incredible response - such as the drop-in clinics held in recent weeks.

She said: "Despite this success, a small number of people may have been missed by our appeals for a variety of reasons.

"In the coming weeks, we’ll be stepping up our efforts to ensure that nobody is left behind. This will include radio advertising, a social media campaign, information in the local press, and engagement with hard to reach groups in our communities.”