By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

Last week, 12 – 15 year olds in Wrexham and across North Wales started receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, while the local Health Board has also ramped up efforts to get the booster jabs into the arms of people who are most vulnerable to serious illness from coronavirus.

12 – 15 year olds are now eligible for one dose of the vaccine and letters are being sent inviting all young people in this age range for an appointment. The Welsh Government expects all 12 – 15 year olds to be offered a vaccine by the end of the October half term. If any parent or guardian wants more information, I would urge them to always use a trusted source. Public Health Wales has information on their website approved by medical professionals.

The rollout of the booster programme is also gathering pace, with frontline NHS staff in North Wales becoming the first in the country to receive their third dose last month. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has confirmed the majority of booster jabs will be administered at Vaccination Centres, such as Glyndwr University’s Catrin Finch Centre, and, therefore, will not be dispensed by GPs. During the initial rollout of the first and second doses earlier this year, GPs played a key role, but with current unprecedented demand coupled with the added challenging of administering flu jabs, most GPs will not be taking part in the booster programme. This means people do not need to contact their GP surgery or local Vaccination Centre to enquire about their booster jab. You would be contacted by the Health Board by letter and text message when it’s your turn.

Wales’ Chief Medical Officer has renewed calls for pregnant women to get vaccinated as soon as possible, emphasising it is safe and effective at all stages. It follows a rise in the number of unvaccinated pregnant women being admitted to hospital with coronavirus who are experiencing serious illness. Both the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) recommend vaccination as one of the best defences against severe infection. After analysing the data and studying the evidence, medical professionals around the world agree the vaccine offers the greatest protection against coronavirus. It is heart-breaking to think mothers and babies are suffering from the virus when the harm caused can be prevented. Whatever stage you’re at, it’s never too late to get vaccinated so I am urging pregnant women in Wrexham to accept their Covid-19 vaccine when offered.