AN MP and GP are calling for a significant ramping up of the vaccine rollout in North Wales.

Dr James Davies, who is also a GP, and Dr Nitin Shori, partner at the surgery at Park House surgery in Prestatyn, have both aired concerns about the slow rate of vaccine administration compared to other parts of the UK.

Dr Davies claims he has been “inundated” with messages from constituents who have not yet received an appointment, despite being within a top priority group for the Covid vaccine.

Dr Shori said he too has been approached by patients who are keen to know when they will be vaccinated.

The doctor even asked the health board if he and he staff could work 24/7 so all 9,000 patients at his practice could be vaccinated.

Dr Shori added: “The Prime Minister has rightly provided an ambitious timescale for the country and this has set patient expectations. We can’t possibly meet these expectations based on the current planned North Wales roll out. Thus will lead to anger and frustration in our area and would leave us far behind the rest of the UK.

“I made an offer to the health board that we would work 24/7 and would vaccinate my whole practice of 9,000 patients in two weeks if they could facilitate this.

“We have an older population. We know that some patients have been locked in their homes for months and that many more have suffered mental health problems due to lockdowns. If we can’t quickly vaccinate people it will be impossible for lockdown in North Wales to end before the summer.

“Like James, I am prepared to work with the health board in any way I can to improve the speed of the vaccine rollout in North Wales.”

Dr Davies has volunteered as a medic and as a general helper for the vaccine rollout.

He said: "I’ve been inundated with messages from understandably anxious elderly constituents and relatives of care home residents who have seen those in their position being vaccinated in nearby Cheshire, Wirral and Shropshire, but are yet to receive an invitation for vaccination themselves.

"As of the week ending January 3, BCUHB had vaccinated 0.81 per cent of the population of North Wales. This amounts to under half of the average achievement in England of 1.97 per cent. Although the health board has successfully vaccinated much greater numbers of staff, it remains at the bottom of the pile, per head of the population vaccinated, in Wales alone.

“Obviously this is very concerning and I, along with Dr Shori and others, are extremely keen to work with the health board to ensure the planning, organisation and delivery of the programme is brought up to scratch. There is also much thought that needs to go into the correct targeting of vulnerable groups in the coming days and weeks.

“My focus is on ensuring that my constituents receive vaccination as quickly and efficiently as possible and I, along with my fellow North Wales Conservative MPs and MSs, have written to the Chief Executive of the health board to pose questions, seek assurances and let her know that we are more than happy to assist the health board in any way that may be useful.

“I appreciate the complexity of the vaccine roll out, that teething difficulties are inevitable, and that North Wales is not alone in facing difficulties, but we really must get to grips with the operation ahead of us and ensure that the people of North Wales are quickly protected from this awful virus.”

Dr Davies, along with other North Wales MPs and MSs, took part in a virtual meeting with Jo Whitehead, the new chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. During the meeting, they raised their concerns.

On January 11, Teresa Owen, executive director of Public Health, said that 9,654 people in the top priority groups received their first dose as part of the planned rollout and at the end of last week, 15,852 people had been vaccinated.

Mr Owen added: “We know initially there was some concern about the supply of vaccine to North Wales in the first few weeks of the programme, but we have always been clear that we will receive our proportion of the vaccine. We have now seen a significant increase in supply and that has been quickly reflected in the overall number of people who have had their vaccine in North Wales.

“All three Mass Vaccination Centres (MVCs) located in Bangor, Llandudno and Deeside are now being used, together with three Hospital Vaccination Centres (HVCs) at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Wrecsam Maelor. No other Health Board has commissioned this number of sites and establishing this scale of delivery has been the programme’s objective over the initial weeks.

“This investment in infrastructure, coupled with the support of GP practices, will enable North Wales to safely delivery significantly higher volumes of vaccinations and confidently provide assurance around meeting any volume and timeline targets.”

This week, the health board has been given 8,576 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech and 6,300 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to continue vaccinating:

  • Care home residents and staff
  • People aged over 80, including hospital inpatients
  • High risk frontline healthcare staff
  • Primary care staff
  • Welsh Ambulance Service staff
  • Social care staff

Ms Owen said: “We will continue to deliver the vaccine from our MVCs and HVCs. The aim is to reach as many people as quickly as possible, particularly those group identified as being most vulnerable. The supply of vaccines we receive will also continue to increase in coming weeks to help us do this.

“We are also starting to deliver the vaccine with the support of our primary care partners, and we will share more information about this in the coming weeks. As previously stated, this is particularly important given the large area we cover in North Wales. This will be supported by working with community pharmacy teams, who can provide further opportunities for people to get their vaccine as close to home as possible.

“By the end of January, we aim to vaccinate 90 per cent of the following groups:

  • Care home residents and staff
  • 80 years and above
  • BCU Frontline staff
  • Domiciliary and social care frontline staff
  • Other care partner frontline staff.”

Every household in North Wales will receive a letter. This will explain in detail the list of priority groups that will be vaccinated first, how they will be contacted and other useful information.

People do not need to contact the health board or their GP as they will be contacted by telephone or letter when it is their turn to be vaccinated.