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The first mass coronavirus vaccination centre in Caerphilly County Borough is now up and running.
The vaccination centre opened its doors at Caerphilly County Borough Council’s headquarters in Tredomen on Thursday (January 7).
Residents have been receiving their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which was approved for use in the UK on December 30 – three weeks after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved.
On Wednesday (January 6), GP surgeries reported receiving their first deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Due to easier storage, the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca can be used across a number of different settings, including in GP surgeries, in mobile vaccination centres, and in care homes.
People have been told not to contact their GPs and instead wait until they receive an invitation for vaccination.
In a tweet, Caerphilly Council announced that Dennis Stevens, 95, and Gareth Osbourne, 75, both residents at Castle View Care Home in Caerphilly, were the first two care home residents to receive the Oxford vaccine in the borough.
Around 40,000 doses of the vaccine have been made available for the first two weeks of the rollout, which started on Monday, January 4.
One hundred million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been secured by the UK Government, with Wales receiving its allocation based on population in the coming weeks and months.
Each person will need two doses of the vaccine to maximise its effectiveness, with a gap of between four and 12 weeks between the doses.
Councillor Shayne Cook, cabinet member for social care, said he was “very happy” to see the vaccination centre open, but urged residents to be “patient for your invite”.
Caerphilly’s Senedd Member, Hefin David, said it was “welcome news” that the vaccination centre had opened.
He said: “It will certainly bring people peace of mind to see the vaccines being rolled out locally. However, we must remember that administration of the vaccine will take time.”
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The different vaccines
The UK Government has procured vaccines on behalf of the four nations and around 100m of these are of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with Wales receiving its allocation based on population over the next weeks and months. Two doses will be needed, with an interval of between four and 12 weeks between doses.
At the beginning of December, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was the first to receive MHRA approval in the UK. Forty million doses of the vaccine have been made available for delivery across the UK.
Based on a UK-wide priority system, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has already begun to be administered to frontline health and social care staff, as well as care home residents and staff and people aged over 80. Latest figures show that in the first three weeks, 35,000 people were vaccinated.
Unlike the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is stored at normal vaccine fridge temperatures. This means it will have few storage and transportation issues, making it much easier to use in community settings such as care homes and primary care settings like GP surgeries.
People are asked not to phone their GP, pharmacy or hospital asking when they will get a vaccine. When someone is in one of the groups eligible for the vaccine, they will be invited to attend a dedicated clinic which will have been set up to ensure patient safety and that of the healthcare professionals.
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