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Health

Vaccine plan unveiled for Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board is making final preparations to deliver its mass vaccination programme following Wednesday’s announcement that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been granted temporary authorisation for use.

There will only be small quantities of a vaccine at first due to the storage requirements of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

A Hywel Dda spokesperson said: “Priority groups for the initial supplies of this vaccine include front line health and social care staff with direct patient and client contact across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. We are continually reviewing our plans based on receipt of further supplies.

“We are ready to deploy the vaccine in phases when the vaccine arrives. Eligible front line health and social care staff will receive details of how they will receive the vaccination as soon as possible.

“Members of the public are asked to not contact their GP practice or community pharmacies to enquire about the vaccine at this time.”

Ros Jervis, director of public health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Vaccination saves lives and Wednesday’s announcement is a truly significant moment.

“I’d like to personally thank everyone from organisations from across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire who, for the past few months, have worked tirelessly together to ensure we are ready to deliver this vaccine to protect our frontline staff and the clinically vulnerable in our community.

“Please do not contact your GP or pharmacist to apply for or ask for the vaccination. As soon as the vaccine is available for your eligible group, you will be informed and asked to make an appointment.”

In readiness, Hywel Dda UHB has established two vaccination centres for delivery of early supplies, one in Carmarthenshire and one in Ceredigion. Attendance at these centres is strictly prohibited without an appointment.

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Health

Information on the All Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone

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Keepers with more than 500 birds will also be required to take extra biosecurity measures

ON NOVEMBER 1 2021, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales confirmed a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a small backyard flock of chickens in Wrexham. This was following a case at a wild bird rescue centre in Worcestershire on the 27 October 2021.

A risk assessment has been prepared in light of these findings, and on 01 November, the UK risk level for disease incursion in wild birds was raised from medium to high. Additionally, the risk to poultry has been increased from low to medium, where biosecurity is inadequate. Effective biosecurity measures play a vital part in helping to reduce this risk. 

Prevention Zone

As a precautionary measure, in response to the increased risk level and to mitigate the risk of infection to poultry and other captive birds by wild birds, it has been declared that an all Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, under Article 6 of the Avian Influenza and Influenza of Avian Origin in Mammals (Wales) (No. 2) Order 2006 has been put into place. The Prevention Zone applies from 17:00 on 03 November 2021.

From 00:01 on 8 November 2021, no gatherings of poultry, galliforme or anseriform birds are permitted. Galliforme birds include pheasants, partridge, quail, chickens, turkey and guinea fowl. Anseriform birds include ducks, geese and swans. See the following guidance for more information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bird-gatherings-licences

The Prevention Zone will require all keepers of poultry and other captive birds, irrespective of how they are kept, to take appropriate and practicable steps, including:

  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example, by netting ponds and by removing wild bird food sources;
  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
  • Minimise movement of people in and out of bird enclosures;
  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
  • Keep domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry.

Keepers with more than 500 birds will also be required to take extra biosecurity measures, including restricting access to non-essential people, changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.

This Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will remain in place until a reduction in risk levels indicates it is no longer required. The Zone will be kept under regular review.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Finance and Public Protection Services, said: “We strongly encourage all poultry keepers, even those with fewer than 50 birds, to sign up to the Poultry Register. This will ensure you can be contacted immediately, via email or text update, in an avian disease outbreak, enabling you to protect your flock at the earliest opportunity.”

Further information

The following link provides guidance on how to register your flock: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/poultry-including-game-birds-registration-rules-and-forms

Information on the requirements of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, guidance and latest developments will be available on the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/avian-influenza

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Community

Join the team that’s changing lives in Ceredigion

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Royal Voluntary Service in Ceredigion is encouraging more people in the area to discover the joys of volunteering

ROYAL Voluntary Service in Ceredigion is encouraging more people in the area to discover the joys of volunteering whilst keeping their local community healthy and happy. 

The Royal Voluntary Service has been providing invaluable support to people in need in Ceredigion both before and during the coronavirus pandemic. With the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the charity and its volunteers are able to improve health and wellbeing, resilience, confidence and connections of some of Ceredigion’s most vulnerable people.

One of the ways in which local volunteers are improving the lives of people in Ceredigion is by offering Community Transport to help them stay active, independent and social, perhaps by driving them to a community club, an appointment, or taking them home after a stay in hospital. 

People are also being encouraged to sign up for a new Emergency Response Volunteer role, to form a team of standby volunteers who will be ready to come to the aid of their communities and their NHS when urgent needs arise. However, it’s not just the people on the receiving end of the support that benefit from volunteering.

As a result of donating their time, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers report better physical health; mental health and wellbeing, with 81% of pandemic volunteers reporting an improvement in this*; new skills and work experience; and a sense of connection to others in their community. In a recent report more than a third (38%) of Royal Voluntary Service volunteers said that volunteering has also improved their confidence**.

More volunteers are needed to continue providing life changing support to vulnerable and isolated people in Ceredigion as we head into autumn. Royal Voluntary Service is encouraging anyone that wants to make a positive difference to their community and experience the countless benefits of volunteering to step forward and find out about roles in their area at royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteering.

Karyn Morris, Commissioned Service Operations Manager for Royal Voluntary Service in Ceredigion said: “The feedback we get from the people that we support is often that the help of our service and our volunteers is a real lifeline for them. Our volunteers are changing and improving people’s lives in Ceredigion every day. They volunteer completely selflessly, but it’s incredible to see how much their service changes their lives too. If you’d like to join our close-knit team of amazing volunteers, any time you can offer will go a long way to supporting your community and you’ll meet some fantastic people along the way.”

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said:  “Volunteering your time is one of the best things you can do for your community and for yourself. The numerous benefits of volunteering work both ways. By stepping forward this autumn, not only will volunteers be helping those that need extra support to get through the toughest months, but they’ll be boosting their own physical and mental health and wellbeing too.”

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with volunteers supporting the NHS and thousands of vulnerable people in the community. During the crisis the charity has delivered the NHS Volunteer Responders programme for NHS England enabled by the GoodSAM app with volunteers responding to over 2 million requests for support so far. The charity has also worked in local communities through the crisis running home libraries, companionship support, home from hospital services and patient transport. Its Virtual Village Hall provides live classes and tutorials on Facebook to promote well-being and keep people active and occupied through the pandemic.

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Health

First Minister encourages people to get the flu vaccine as he gets the jab

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Mark Drakeford receiving his flu vaccine

THIS week, First Minister Mark Drakeford, got his flu vaccination and encouraged others to take up the offer this winter to help keep people safe and well.

This year will be Wales’ largest ever flu vaccination programme, with people aged 50 and over and all those eligible for a free vaccine being invited to have their jab.

The school’s flu vaccine programme has also been extended this year to include all those in secondary school in years 7-11.

The Welsh Government has also extended the free flu vaccine to all primary care workers in Wales.

Those eligible for the free flu vaccine also include pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions.

The COVID booster programme will also be co-administered to those who are eligible where appropriate to do so, in an effort to improve efficiency and increase uptake of both vaccines. Both vaccines can be administered in succession without delay so there is no need to postpone either appointment once booked

First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, who received his flu vaccine this week, said:

“Unlike last year, we are expecting a significant amounts of flu to circulate this winter and Covid is still with us. It’s very important people take up their offer of the flu vaccine as well as the Covid booster. Data suggests this winter flu season could be 50% to 100% higher than a typical season.

“As we have seen with COVID, vaccines play a huge role in helping to help protect us.  They are the best way to keep everyone safe and help stop the spread of the virus.

“We want to protect as many people as possible, particularly those who are most vulnerable in our community, and reduce the pressure on our NHS.”

Anne McGowan, Nurse Consultant for Public Health Wales’ Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme said:

“Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu.”

“Getting it is simple, and for most eligible groups is available from either their General Practice or a Community Pharmacy, with separate arrangements in place for school-age children and NHS staff.

“To help extend protection against infection it is very important to get your COVID-19 booster vaccine when offered. It is available to those eligible groups that completed their primary course of the vaccinations earlier this year.

“COVID-19 booster vaccinations are offered by invitation at existing local mass vaccination centres. Please get yours when you are invited.”

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