First of care home residents in Wales get Covid-19 vaccine

Coronavirus vaccinations for care home residents will begin later today, a week after the first vaccines were rolled out across the UK.

A care home in North Wales will be the first in Wales to receive the vaccine, before it is given to other care homes later this week.

Care home staff, health and social care workers and those aged 80 and over were the first to get the vaccine on December 8.

A Welsh doctor was one of the first people in the world to receive the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine, and said he hoped it would bring about an "end game" for coronavirus.

Initially there were concerns the vaccine would not be safe to get the jab to care homes as it needs to be kept at -70c. However, it has now been ''repackaged'' into smaller sizes to enable the jabs to be taken to care homes safely.

Richard Waye's mother, 86-year-old Glenda, was one of the first residents in a Flintshire care home to get the vaccine on Wednesday.

Richard, who lives 200 miles away in Cambridge, said he's delighted his mother is being vaccinated.

''Talking to your mother thorough a window or an iPhone is less than ideal. She's of the generation that puts on a brave face. Im delighted she's getting the vaccine, there were a few incidents of the home having been affected by Covid cases.''

He praised the care home and hopes the vaccine will allow him to visit his mother with no barriers.

The Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said it will bring a ''new level of protection'' to the most vulnerable.

“If all goes well this week, we will start the roll out of vaccinations ahead of Christmas, bringing a new level of protection to some of our most vulnerable people. Our NHS staff have done a fantastic job to get this first vaccine out in a safe and timely manner. I’m extremely grateful for their hard work on this and across the course of the pandemic.”

May Parsons delivered the first ever Covid-19 jab to grandmother Margaret Keenan in December 2020 Credit: Jacob King/PA

The vaccine will be given to care homes close to hospital pharmacies, before it is available in other settings in coming weeks.

The effects may not be seen nationally for many months and people have been urged to maintain current guidelines - keep social distance, keep contacts with other people to a minimum, wash hands regularly, and wear a face covering where required.

Dr Gill Richardson, Chair of Wales’ COVID-19 Vaccine Programme, said delivering the jab to care homes was a 'challenge' but also a priority.