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Robert Street Practice has apologised to vulnerable patients over vaccine delay

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A DOCTOR’S surgery in Milford Haven has said it is sorry to its patients after admitting it will have to postpone starting its coronavirus vaccine programme due to lack of product.

The first patients due to be vaccinated were the most vulnerable – care home residents and staff – and Milford Haven residents registered at their practice over 80 years of age.

But the practice has now been informed by Hywel Dda Health Board that it cannot order any stock of vaccines until later this month, so will not be able to start inoculations until February at the earliest.

It is because one of four batches of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, being used for the rollout in GP surgeries in Wales, has been delayed.

Speaking during a press conference on Friday, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the country had had around 300,000 vaccine doses delivered to them.

Mr Drakeford explained that Wales has received roughly 50,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 250,000 of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – but the latter cannot be used in GP surgeries easily because it must be kept at very low temperatures until a few days before use.

On other words, Wales does not have enough of the right type of vaccine for GP surgeries.

On its official Facebook page, the Robert Street practice said: “[We] wish to apologize as we are experiencing a delay in being able to start vaccinating Tier 1 and 2 patients against COVID. These tiers include care home residents and their staff, NHS staff and all patients over 80.

“All our staff are keen and fully trained to be able to start this campaign as soon as possible but our practice has been informed by Hywel Dda Health Board that we are not able to order any stock of vaccines until hopefully week commencing 25th January.

“This is out of our control totally. We have been advised to not make definite plans until we have full confirmation so will inform those patients who currently qualify as soon as we are able to access stock.

“We hope to commence as soon as we can in February. We apologize for any inconvenience or worry this may cause.”

The Welsh Government said the delay in receiving sufficient Oxford/AstraZenica stocks would not impact their wider aim to vaccinate around 750,000 of the most vulnerable people by the middle of February.

A spokesman said: “We were recently notified that one of the four batches of the vaccine we had anticipated receiving this week will be delayed, and not available until the week commencing 25 January.

“This does not affect our overall expected delivery volumes or expectations for hitting the milestones set out in our Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy for Wales.”

According to the BBC, each batch contains about 26,000 doses.

It is understood that the delay will also impact on supplies in other parts of the UK in the coming week.

Welsh Government has also confirmed that it plans are in place to utilise all of Wales’ current supply of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine by early February.

A spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “By mid-February and subject to supply, our aim is to offer vaccinations to all care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; those 70 years of age and over; and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.”

Other GP surgeries in Wales have also apologised for delays.

However Stephen Crabb said that there was better news on vaccines following his weekly meeting with the Local Health Board.

He said: “Pembrokeshire will see a vaccination centre open next week.

“This is certainly encouraging – and it’s what I’ve been calling for since the start of the vaccination programme. It will focus on delivering the Pfizer vaccine to local health and social care staff for the time-being.”

But the Preseli Pembrokeshire MP did not seem to know about delivery delays.

Mr Crabb said: “A further delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine doses will see GP surgeries across Pembrokeshire delivering vaccinations next week to their vulnerable patients. I will continue to stay in touch with the LHB on a daily basis to monitor progress.

South Pembrokeshire’s Simon Hart MP said on his Facebook page on Saturday (Jan 16): “So far approximately 15,930 local residents have been vaccinated or about 4.1% of the population. Initially this has focussed on NHS and care staff who have contact with patients but has no moved into the first cohorts of more vulnerable people.

“As many people will know, the plan across the UK, is to vaccinate Cohorts 1-4 by the middle of February. These cohorts, people over 70 and the very vulnerable, account for 88% of all hospital admissions.

“Next week the health board will receive a further 15,000 Oxford Astra Zenica vaccinations, and 6,000 more Pfizer vaccinations.

“Crucially for residents in Pembrokeshire (where concerns have been raised about a lack of facilities and a slow start for the over 80’s) plans are advancing quickly for new vaccination centres in both the North and South of the County as well as in all GP surgeries.

“Our “strike-rate” in Wales is still a little behind the rest of the UK at 3,215/100k of population compared with 4,005/100k in England, but we are assured that provision of vaccines is evenly distributed throughout the whole UK.

“Its worth pointing out that this is a mammoth task and many thousands of people in the NHS, MoD and many other areas are doing a remarkable job and that the UK is currently third in the world in its vaccination programme.”

“As of lunchtime today, over 15,000 vaccination had taken place across the 3 counties in the LHB area – 4.1% of our population.

“This is positive although the proportion of over 80’s who have been vaccinated is considerably lower than in England. This is where we need to see progress now. Getting vaccines to the most vulnerable ensures more lives are saved.

“Our hospitals remain under pressure so it is still really important that we follow the guidance. But today’s update from the Health Board shows we are moving in the right direction.”

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Pembrokeshire Leisure welcomes back school swimming

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PEMBROKESHIRE Leisure is welcoming back school swimming lessons around the county for the first time since March 2020.

Swimmers from over 20 schools will be attending in their class bubbles to enjoy learning vital water competency skills in Pembrokeshire Leisure’s six swimming pools.

In a county which is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coastline, being safe in and around water is a potentially life-saving skill.

The programme of school swimming lessons helps to achieve the Welsh national priority that every child is a swimmer by the time they leave primary school.

The National Curriculum requirement which has been designed in line with this is that every key stage 2 child should be able to:

  • Swim 25 metres with clothes on (shorts and t-shirt), then tread water for 30 seconds and demonstrate an action for getting help and move into the Heat Escape Lessening Position (H.E.L.P)
  • Demonstrate a shout and signal action to attract attention.

The first school to return was Ysgol Glannau Gwaun at Fishguard Leisure Centre and there are now 20 primary schools which will be attending swimming lessons around Pembrokeshire.

On Monday 14 th June, Coastlands County Primary School attended and their Head Teacher Sonja Groves said: “We are delighted to finally get back to swimming after such a long time away. The children were so happy to be back in the water learning and enjoying. Swimming is a vital life skill which helps to keep the children of Pembrokeshire safe in and around all types of water.”

Leisure Services Manager Gary Nicholas said: “It is fantastic to be able to safely welcome back school swimming to our facilities. Primary school aged children have missed over a years’ worth of swimming lessons and Pembrokeshire Leisure are committed to supporting the aim of every child a swimmer by age 11.

“We will continue to do this by delivering quality school swimming lessons following the Swim Wales Nofio Ysgol programme, using the Free Swimming Initiative to provide targeted sessions for the most deprived swimmers and by continuing to provide swimming lessons at all sites in our Learn to Swim programme.”

For more information about how you can book your child swimming lessons and support their journey to becoming a competent swimmer, contact your local leisure centre.

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Landmarc flies the flag at local training camp to celebrate Armed Forces Week

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TO CELEBRATE Armed Forces Week 2021 and the contribution made by local military personnel, Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc) has raised the Armed Forces Day flag at Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire.

Following an unprecedented year for the UK’s troops as they responded to the challenges raised by the pandemic, Landmarc, which manages the UK Defence Training Estate in partnership with Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), wanted to extend an extra special thank you, by flying the official Armed Forces Day flag at military training estates across the UK, including local camp, Castlemartin.

Landmarc employees were joined by Armed Forces personnel and staff from DIO to witness the raising of the flag, where it will fly proudly until Armed Forces Week comes to a close on the 28th of June.

This Armed Forces Week, Landmarc has pledged its support and sponsorship of Team Emotive in its mission to complete one of the world’s most difficult ocean rowing challenges – the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – all in the name of raising money for mental health charity, Veterans at Ease.

Made up of four Armed Forces veterans, including one Landmarc employee, Team Emotive is preparing to travel 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. Rowing two hours on, two hours off for forty days, this challenge will push the team to its limits both physically and mentally. 23 rd June 2021

In addition, Landmarc has also announced its official partnership with the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA, working together to support veterans as they transition into civilian life.

Mark Neill, Managing Director at Landmarc, comments: “Each year, every one of us at Landmarc gives thanks to our troops during this special week. As part of the 25 per cent of veterans and reservists that make up Landmarc’s workforce, I know first- hand how important this event is for morale within the Forces community.

“It’s always fantastic to see so many people and organisations come together each year for Armed Forces Week, but the events of the last fifteen months have heightened our gratitude. The efforts from our servicemen and women have been immense and impossible to ignore in the nation’s fight against COVID-19; with our own staff working alongside the military to support the demands of the training estate as it hosts troops from across the country.”

For more information on Landmarc Support Services, please visit www.landmarcsolutions.com.

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Endurance runner tackles Pembrokeshire Coast

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ENDURANCE runner Sean Conway has successfully completed his epic series of marathons in the UK’s National Parks.

On Thursday, June 17, Sean tackled the Pembrokeshire coast, running from Newport to Dinas Head and back, fuelled by sports nutrition brand ‘Grenade’.

Sean, who is from North Wales, has ran the length of Britain before but says this was the longest stretch of days where he has had to constantly do a marathon every day.

Speaking of his run in Newport, Sean said: “It was so hilly. Honestly, the weather was amazing. It wasn’t too hot and there were some nice views along the way. At Dinas Head, it was amazing looking down at the lagoons and there are some amazing rock formations.”

He took six hours to complete his marathon but there was little time for recovery as he moved on to his final run in Snowdonia the day after.

“This was my second-last marathon so my body was feeling pretty battered and I’ve had to do it fully self-supported so I was doing one run out then back to the car and then out again”, Sean added.

“With covid we’ve all been staying at home more so I wanted to show off how amazing the National Parks are.

“There will be more of us visiting as restrictions are eased but we don’t want to ruin it by being silly.”

Sean was provided with his nutrition for the runs by Grenade and he said he ‘would not have been able to survive without them’.

In the morning he would have an energy drink which contained vitamins and electrolites and he would also mix this in with his water for some of his runs.

Sean would also have protein bars to give him an extra boost as he tried to keep on top of his protein intake.

“Pembrokeshire was so scenic. When I announced the runs this was the run that stood out online and I was really looking forward to doing it. We’ll definitely be coming back soon” Sean concluded.

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