Why are some younger people in Wales getting their Covid vaccine before older people?

As the coronavirus vaccine rollout continues across Wales, confusion is mounting over why some people have already been called for their jab while older relatives and friends haven't.

Top of the priority list - as has always been the case - are care home residents and staff. Next in line are health and social care workers, and people aged 80 and over.

Then it's people aged 75-79, followed by the 70-74 age group and anyone aged 16-69 who has a condition which makes them clinically extremely vulnerable.

But ITV News has heard from people living in the same household who are confused by the order in which they've been called for their vaccine.

This week, Neil Lyle, 78, waited patiently outside Cardiff's first mass vaccination centre.

He wasn't waiting for his own jab, however - he hasn't been called yet.

Instead, it was his younger wife Lesley, 74, who was inside receiving her Covid vaccine - despite being in the priority group below him.

"It doesn't appear to be very good organisation," Neil told ITV Wales' health correspondent James Crichton-Smith.

"But it's a very complex, administrative problem - I can understand that. So I'm not worrying about it... yet."

Lesley is glad to have received her jab, saying she feels "a lot happier and a lot safer" - but husband Neil still has no idea when he'll be given his.

There is growing confusion over why some people are receiving their jabs before others. Credit: PA Images

Also at the vaccination centre were Linda and Robert Cullen. Linda is 74 and was there to receive her jab - but Robert, 82, still hasn't had his invite, despite being a higher priority.

Speaking to ITV News the day after it was confirmed Wales missed its target to vaccinate 70% of over 80s, Linda and Robert admit they are perplexed by the system.

"I think it's crazy that Linda is getting the jab and I'm not," Robert said.

"I feel quite guilty about it," admitted Linda.

Meanwhile Joyce Symonds, 74, was at the vaccination centre on her own. At 76, her husband Ian is two years older than her and also has cancer - but he hasn't been called for his jab."I'll just be glad when he's had his and we've got some protection," Joyce said.

The priority list for the coronavirus vaccination rollout in Wales.

The situation differs between health board areas across Wales.

In response to the people ITV News interviewed, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board says those who are clinically vulnerable or between the ages of 70-74 will get called to mass vaccine centres, while those 75 and older will be called to GP surgeries.

However, today a spokesperson admitted some people received their Covid-19 vaccine over others after a booking number dedicated for frontline staff was shared on social media.

Separately, the vaccine priority list was also raised in a question to Wales' chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Welsh Government's press briefing, he said: "Inevitably, some over-70s will start to be invited in some health boards before all the over-80s are covered. But we're well on track to get through those first four priority groups."

Wales' chief medical officer addressed the issue in Wednesday's press briefing.

So what should people do if they haven't been called for their jab but a younger relative or friend has?

People are understandably keen to know when and where they will get their vaccine.

As the top four priority groups are worked through, many people in their early 70s are being vaccinated ahead of their older friends and relatives and are wondering why.

I've been told there are many factors at play here. For example, it's assumed that those over 80 are more likely to find it difficult to get to a mass vaccination centre, which may be far from where they live. With this in mind, GP practices - which may be closer to home - are focusing on the oldest patients.

Capacity may also be a factor. GP surgeries only have so many people and so many vaccines, but long lists to get through. Mass vaccination centres tend to be bigger and have more capacity to administer vaccines.

One other defining element is when targets or thresholds are met. For example, if you meet your target of vaccinating a certain percentage of over 80s, then that triggers the start of vaccinating those younger patients in priority groups. It means that, for a time, you will have the last of the people from the first older group being vaccinated at the same time as the first people from the younger group.

The message from the Welsh Government, though, remains the same. Have patience and wait to be called - your time will come.

For many, though, that's easier said than done.

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