THE mass vaccination centre based in Deeside is 'under review' as the Covid vaccination programme continues across Wales.

When the pandemic broke out in Wales, health boards made additional provision across the country to keep pressure off the main hospitals coping with the virus.

In North Wales, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board set up three sites in the region. One at Deeside Leisure Centre in Flintshire, a second at Venue Cymru in Llandudno and a third at Bangor University.

In total, the three rainbow hospitals provided an additional 1,000 hospital beds as well as facilities to help people recovering from the virus rehabilitate closer to home and take pressure off the main hospital units in the region.

It was confirmed this March that all three hospitals would be handed back to their original owners later this year and Mass Vaccination Centres at Deeside Leisure Centre and Llandudno’s Venue Cymru would be returned by July 31.

This means that any move to keep the Mass Vaccination Centre in place in Deeside would disrupt plans to revert back to a leisure centre.

The Leader previously reported back in March that with cases locally lower than they were during the second wave of the virus in January, politicians sought answers on when the leisure centre will be restored for its original purpose.

Addressing the issue at a virtual meeting of councillors held on March 10, Flintshire Council’s chief officer for housing and assets, Neal Cockerton, said: “The Rainbow hospital will move out, the internal areas will be refurbished or brought back to a standard that is suitable for leisure provision and it will continue on its journey as a leisure centre.

“That’s always been the case from the start of this.

“The issue about how quickly that is going to happen, the point I’d make there is it’s a main regional vaccination centre at the moment and will continue to be.

“The conversation is around how long we’re going to have to wait to get the facility back, but that’s not anticipated to be long because we’re also already planning an exit strategy for the Rainbow hospitals.”

Rumours were circulating on social media that the Deeside Mass Vaccination Centre and Llandudno could be closing soon, but others asked whether it would be retained through the winter for a booster vaccine scheme.

Gill Harris, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said: "We are reviewing the requirements for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme. We remain extremely grateful to Flintshire County Council for their continued support in responding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination programme.”

It is expected more information about the future of the rainbow hospitals will be released in the coming weeks.

Colin Everett, Flintshire County Council Chief Executive said: “The Rainbow Hospital is being decommissioned for return to use as a leisure centre, and we are reviewing plans to retain the vaccination centre area for a winter booster programme at the request of the Health Board.”

Wales' vaccination programme continues to lead the way as it was pledged no-one will be 'left behind'.

Wales expects to reach 75% take-up for first jabs across all priority groups and age groups a month ahead of target – the original milestone was the end of July – as the nation’s vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.

All over-18s will be offered a Covid vaccine by the start of next week as the focus will now move to maximising vaccine coverage for all by ensuring everyone is offered a second dose by the end of September.