By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

A year has passed since the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered in Wales.

Over the last 12 months, our amazing vaccination teams have delivered more than 5.5 million vaccines to people in Wales. To set up a brand new service of this magnitude from scratch is a truly remarkable achievement.

Authorities are still learning about the Omicron variant but the evidence so far suggests it will become the dominant form of the virus very quickly.

It means the vaccination programme is ramping up, with all eligible adults being offered a booster by the end of January.

In the coming weeks, more than 200,000 appointments will be offered in Wales every week.

People will continue to be called in priority order of age and vulnerability so please wait until you are invited for your booster. For the last 12 months, vaccines have been our best defence against the virus.

As we face the new uncertainty of the Omicron variant, I urge people from Wrexham to make getting your vaccine or booster a priority over the next few weeks. It is never too late to get vaccinated.

Throughout the pandemic, unpaid carers have gone above and beyond the call of duty, providing invaluable support and care for their loved ones or friends in some of the most challenging circumstances. The physical and emotional impact of caring can be overwhelming but I am pleased the Welsh Government has outlined how its £7m funding package will support unpaid carers, recognising their vital contribution. The Welsh Government previously committed £3 million in 2021-22 to allow more carers to take a break from their caring role, bringing the total additional funding support for unpaid carers this year to £10 million. Unpaid carers play a vital role in our society and I hope this latest funding will support them and provide some much needed respite.

It was lovely spending time with beneficiaries, volunteers and staff at the new Caia Park Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub. Based at the Caia Park Partnership, the Hub is run by North East Wales Mind and offers a drop-in service with free tea and coffee for anyone to call in for a chat. In a short amount of time the Hub has already had a positive impact, providing a safe space for people who are struggling for whatever reason. It is an excellent example of different partners working collaboratively and it is clear the resource is valued by the local community.