Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are collaborating with Hywel Dda University Health Board to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
With the next phase of their COVID-19 vaccination programme initiating, Hywel Dda University Health Board recognised some of the challenges they faced with vaccinating around 20,000 Over 70s within the communities they serve.
Putting out a request to their partners for assistance, the Health Board were looking for organisations who could potentially assist with the transportation of people within their communities to and from mass vaccination centres, set up to assist in the administering of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Recognising the configuration of our service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employ, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.
“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity allows us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health board is unique, and indeed the first of its kind for fire and rescue services in Wales. Now we have a model in place, we are in a position to look further for opportunities to provide support to other partners within mid and west Wales.
“Our relationship with the people we serve puts us in a unique position. On top of this our staff are community focused and trained to work with people from all walks of life. This combination has allowed us to react quickly to this request for assistance.
“This partnership is one that is going to make a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic and we are pleased to be able play our part and collaborate with our NHS partners to change the lives of many people.”
Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the service’s response to this call for assistance. Mydrian said, “Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we could make an impact, we have put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff but to also safeguard those who are eligible for vaccination, but may have barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.
“With this partnership in place, Hywel Dda University Health Board will be in a position to issue vaccinations to those who fall within the over 70s age group in a safe and timely manner, without having to commit vital resources to the transportation element of this mammoth task.”