A planned slowdown in the spread of coronavirus vaccination should not prevent the Welsh Government from meeting its future target, the Health Minister has said.
Vaughan Gething said it was hoped that the supply of vaccines would increase again within March and that meant the administration would still be on track to provide everyone in the priority groups with the first five to nine doses of the vaccine.
Mr Gething was speaking as the next phase of the spread of coronavirus vaccines in Wales begins.
He said: “This is another massive logistical effort and we will use all the resources at our disposal to use in the days and weeks ahead, including local pharmacies, to make sure we can vaccinate as many people as possible. as soon as possible.
“But we need to factor in a temporary slowdown in vaccine supply across the UK for our plans over the next two weeks.
“I want to make it clear that we have worked on this in our plans and this will not delay any second dose appointment.
“We expect supplies to get back up quickly by March and, if that happens, we will be on track to offer everyone in groups of five to nine a vaccine by the end of April.”
Mr Gething added that the Government is looking at ways to provide “a little more flexibility” for families during the blockade, with the latest revision of the three-week closure on Friday.
“We have already said that we will use any headroom we have to return our youngest children to school after half term,” he said.
“We have been working with local education authorities, teaching and non-teaching staff unions to develop a phased and flexible plan to enable the Foundation Phase to resume from next Monday.
“You will also know that the First Minister has said we are looking into any other small changes we are able to make to give families a little more flexibility after such a long stalemate.
The coronavirus test rate in Wales is now below 10%.
The seven-day case rate is now below 100 cases per 100,000 for the first time per month.
There were 16 more deaths and 363 new confirmed cases, Wales Public Health data revealed Monday.
In the vaccines, 784,809 people were given the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine; 5,402 was given a two-dose course.
More than three quarters of a million people in Wales were vaccinated by Sunday.
However, Mr Gething stressed that the presence and emergence of new variants had added further complexity in treating the pandemic.
He said: “We have to be very careful how we get out of the blockage due to the presence of new and infectious strains of the virus in the UK.
“The highly infectious Kent variant is now the most dominant type of virus in Wales.
Piles of a mutated version of the Kent type have been identified just above our border in Bristol and Liverpool.
“And the UK Government has extended its growth testing to more areas of England to test and discover and contain the South African variant.
“These variants have added another dimension to the pandemic. It is important that we all work together to get coronavirus levels in the community as low as we can.”
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