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BMA Cymru Wales Calls for Healthcare Workers to be Vaccinated Urgently

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BMA Cymru Wales is calling for the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to frontline healthcare workers who have received the first dose, within the maximum 42-day timeline tested in the original trial and in-line with World Health Organisation guidance.

The Association is also calling for all remaining vaccinations for staff to be accelerated to ensure maximum protection for staff and patients. The Association says this is essential to protect an already depleted workforce and to help prevent the NHS becoming overwhelmed in the next few weeks.

BMA Cymru Wales has already condemned the 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.

Dr David Bailey, Chair of BMA Welsh Council said:

“Despite our calls for the publication of health board vaccination plans and improved communication to staff on the ground, doctors and other healthcare professionals are still struggling to access vaccinations in some parts of Wales and there is a complete lack of transparency around availability and delivery. This cannot continue.

“We’re hearing first-hand from members of a huge disparity in vaccination roll out for staff in different health boards, with some areas completing first stage 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.

“We met with the Chief Medical Officer this week to raise concerns about the planned delay between administration of the first and second Pfizer vaccine, including concerns about the evidence base, the impact on morale and staffing shortages. Given the reality that healthcare workers are more likely to be exposed to and infected with the virus, it is important that they are offered the fullest protection at the earliest opportunity. They are unable to isolate between doses and will continue to provide patient care. Unfortunately, there was no appetite to change position.

“We agree that the evidence for rolling out the Oxford vaccine with a delayed second dose seems robust, but we still need to ensure all vaccinations are done as quickly as possible. Without doctors and other healthcare professionals being fit and able to continue working, people in Wales will suffer. Giving all healthcare workers a vaccination could save their lives so they can help save yours.

“Furthermore, we have called for full transparency from Welsh Government on vaccination supply and the speed at which they are being delivered to the workforce.”