DOCTORS across Wales are calling for frontline staff to be vaccinated without delay.

Dr David Bailey, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Welsh Council, said that doctors and other healthcare professionals are currently struggling to access vaccinations in some parts of Wales.

He claimed there is a "complete lack of transparency around delivery".

"This cannot continue," he added.

“You can't run a health service without staff and with many isolating or actually having the virus themselves, we’re in danger of a collapse.

"The situation is dire. Staff who are working are at absolute breaking point, both physically and mentally, and it’s difficult to see how this situation can continue.

“The message is clear: Vaccinating front line staff in both primary and secondary care and those working in care functions, with direct patient contact, is the main priority. Mental health support should also be made readily available during this incredibly testing time. Without doctors and other healthcare professionals being fit and able to continue working, people in Wales will suffer.

“It’s unacceptable that staff are continuing to shoulder this huge burden, being exposed day in, day out, and are not being properly protected in doing so.

“We’re hearing of a huge disparity in vaccination roll out for staff in different health boards, with some areas moving forward with vaccinations and others where staff are unable to get through on email or phone lines and are left in the dark about when they can get a vaccine. It’s not good enough when lives are on the line.

“Vaccinations need to be prioritised based on clinical need, with a reliable and accessible booking process that is communicated to all staff. Only when this is properly managed can we stand a chance of protecting the increasing number of patients with Covid-19 we’re seeing in Wales.”

The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) following a global trial, in which Welsh participants and healthcare professionals played a key role.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Public Health Wales say there may only be small quantities of a vaccine at first, so it will be offered to those who are most at risk first. Eventually every adult will be offered the vaccine.

On their website, it is stated:

The groups to be prioritised to receive a Covid-19 vaccine first, are decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) at a UK level. This is based on knowledge around who is most at risk from Covid-19.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that the first priorities for the Covid-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems.

As the risk of mortality from Covid-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

This priority list is as follows:

Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers

All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers

All those 75 years of age and over

All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

All those 65 years of age and over

All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality

All those 60 years of age and over

All those 55 years of age and over

All those 50 years of age and over

It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99 per cent of preventable mortality from Covid-19.

Unlike the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is stored at normal vaccine fridge temperatures. This means it will have few storage and transportation issues, making it much easier to use in community settings such as care homes and primary care settings like GP surgeries.

People are asked not to phone their GP, pharmacy or hospital asking when they will get a vaccine.

When someone is in one of the groups eligible for the vaccine, they will be invited to attend a dedicated clinic which will have been set up to ensure patient safety and that of the healthcare professionals.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) have three mass vaccination centres - Enfys Hospitals in Deeside, Llandudno and Bangor.

Based on a UK-wide priority system, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has already begun to be administered to frontline health and social care staff, as well as care home residents and staff and people aged over 80 and the AstraZeneca vaccine will enable more.

Latest figures to end of Saturday, December 27 show that more than 35,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine within just three weeks of the start of the vaccination programme [Pfizer BioNTech vaccine].