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Health

Extra drop-in capacity at Llanelli Mass Vaccination Centre

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WITH over 800 vaccines now given daily, Llanelli’s Mass Vaccination Centre (MVC) in Dafen continues to have excellent availability today and tomorrow to deliver first, second and booster COVID-19 vaccines.
People are encouraged to drop-in if they can (no appointment needed) to the MVC located at Unit 2a, Dafen Industrial Estate, Heol Cropin, SA14 8QW.
The free shuttle bus between Llanelli town centre and the MVC continues to run between 10.30am to 4.40pm.
People can board the shuttle bus on the hour and at half-past the hour at Church Street, outside Llanelli Magistrates Court (SA15 3AW). The shuttle bus will leave the MVC quarter past and quarter to the hour (no service at 12pm from town or at 12.15pm from the MVC).
Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “With the increasing cases of COVID-19, it is important that people come forward for their vaccine doses as soon as possible. Thanks to the effort of staff with support from the military, our MVC in Llanelli is able to vaccinate more people than ever before so if you are able to attend a drop in please do so as soon as possible.”
If you’ve recently tested positive for coronavirus, you should wait until 4 weeks after the date you were tested to get any dose of the vaccine. If you are under 18, the current advice is to wait 12 weeks. You should do this even if you have no symptoms.
There is capacity for drop-ins at all Hywel Dda UHB MVCs over the coming days and you can find out opening days and times, specific to your nearest centre here https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccination-programme/mass-vaccination-centres/
For people who cannot drop-in for health and mobility reasons, we ask them to contact Covid Enquiries for assistance in scheduling an appointment by emailing covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk or phoning 0300 303 8322.

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Community

Extension of shuttle bus from Llanelli to vaccination centre

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board (HDUHB) has extended the free shuttle bus service between Llanelli town centre and the mass vaccination centre in Dafen to help people access their COVID-19 vaccination as easily as possible.

The shuttle bus, provided by Dolen Teifi , will continue to run between 10.30am to 4.40pm, seven days a week. Please note there will be no service at 12pm from town or at 12.15pm from the mass vaccination centre to allow the drivers a lunch break.

People can board the shuttle bus on the hour and at half-past the hour at Church Street, outside Llanelli Magistrates Court SA15 3AW. The shuttle bus will leave the mass vaccination centre quarter past and quarter to the hour, returning to the town centre and dropping passengers off opposite Llanelli library.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We need as many people as possible attending their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or dropping in if eligible.

“This shuttle bus service is one of many additional resources and services being put in place across the Hywel Dda region to help support more people to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. I am pleased the shuttle bus service has been extended to help people reliant on public transport to access their COVID-19 vaccine.”

On February 21, 2022, the JCVI published a statement, recommending an additional spring booster.

Strict COVID-19 safety measures will be in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on this service:

  • All passengers and drivers must wear a face covering, unless medically exempt
  • A maximum of 14 passengers will allowed per journey
  • A screen will be in place between driver and passengers
  • Passengers should only use this service if they are fit and well on the day

Before travelling without an appointment to Dafen mass vaccination centre, we advise checking the health board’s website for up-to-date information such as vaccine eligibility and drop-in opening times  https://hduhb.nhs.wales/covid19-vaccination

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Health

COVID-19 spring booster vaccine programme begins in Hywel Dda UHB

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APPOINTMENTS for the COVID-19 spring booster vaccine have started for those who are eligible at Hywel Dda University Health Board’s mass vaccination centres and at most GP practices across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

COVID-19 is more serious in older people and those with a weakened immune system. For this reason, people aged 75 years and over, those in care homes and those aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system (as defined in table 3 and 4 of the Green Book’s chapter 14a) are being offered a spring booster.

The spring booster will be offered up until the end of June and is advised to be given around six months (and not before three months) after the last dose of vaccine was received to get the best protection.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The health board and participating GP practices are in the process of contacting people eligible for a spring booster of the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments are being scheduled in line with the latest JCVI advice and in accordance with age and clinical vulnerability.

“People will be invited to attend either a mass vaccination centre or their GP practice. If your practice is participating in the vaccine rollout, they will contact you when it is your turn, so we kindly ask people to not contact their GP about the COVID-19 vaccination.

“Mass vaccination centres across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire continue to accommodate drop-ins for everyone aged 12 and over to allow easy and flexible access to the vaccine due to increased cases of COVID in our community. Should someone eligible for a spring booster attend as a drop-in without an appointment, they won’t be turned away.”

If you have been given an appointment at a GP for your spring booster please keep to this to help minimise vaccine waste.

Bethan added: “Vaccination clinics for children aged 5 to 11 will continue while the spring booster is being rolled out. It is strictly by appointment only for this age group so please book an appointment by calling 0300 303 8322 before travelling to a vaccination centre.”

For more information about the spring booster programme in Hywel Dda UHB, including drop-in opening times, please visit hduhb.nhs.wales/covid19-vaccination or call 0300 303 8322 or complete this form https://forms.office.com/r/9kg96t6Chs 

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Community

Pupils take on ‘hat-tastic’ fundraiser for mum diagnosed with brain tumour

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Pupils get ready for Wear-A-Hat day

PUPILS at Halfway Community Primary School in Carmarthenshire are taking part in Wear A Hat Day for Brain Tumour Research after the mother of a pupil was diagnosed with the disease.

Mum-of-three, Jessica Jones, from Llanelli, was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in 2020 after experiencing hearing loss and severe headaches the previous year.

Headteacher, Jayne Thomas has worked at Halfway Community Primary School for 25 years and said: “Jessica is a much-loved parent at the school and we really wanted to show our support for her and her family after her diagnosis and during her treatment.

“We support a lot of charities and are a family-orientated school. When Jessica told us about her brain tumour back in the first lockdown, it was absolutely heart-breaking. Her girls have been amazing throughout the whole experience. She has been incredibly brave at a difficult time, amplified because of the pandemic.”

In June 2020, the 38-year-old commercial banker went to the GP to get her hearing and headaches checked and was given migraine tablets and told to go back if the problem persisted.

Jess ready to walk

A few days later, she returned to the GP and was referred for a CT scan after an abnormally high blood pressure reading. Jessica was admitted to Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli for further tests which revealed the devastating news she had a brain tumour, which was causing the intense pressure on her brain.

Jessica said: “I had no family with me due to COVID restrictions, just the doctor and nurse, who told me the news, as I sat on the end of the bed on my own. At that point, all you want is your family around you for support to cuddle and comfort you – I had no one.

“I had to tell my husband, family and friends over the phone. Knowing very little about acoustic neuromas, I researched more about the brain tumour whilst in hospital to prepare for what was ahead of me. Throughout the last 12 months I have always tried to remain positive but it has been an emotional rollercoaster and I have been afraid.”

In January 2021, Jessica underwent a gruelling 13-hour operation where surgeons removed a section of her skull from behind her ear, and successfully took out most of the tumour. Surgeons had to leave a small part of the tumour which had grown around the facial nerve, to avoid causing facial palsy however the procedure has left her with single-sided deafness.

Following surgery, Jessica experienced vertigo and spent two weeks in hospital, with no visitors allowed. Aside from hearing loss, acoustic neuromas and their surgical removal can cause vestibular damage, which can result in balance issues.

Simple things like standing were difficult in the first few days post-surgery, but Jessica worked with her health team at Heath Hospital in Cardiff to improve coordination of eye and head movements and balance retraining to allow her to walk.

The whole family

She said: “I was unable to stand without vomiting the first few days. Thanks to the support of the team there, I finally left the hospital after two weeks, trundling along on a Zimmer frame at the age of 37.”

Jessica’s three daughters, Ella who is nine, and five-year-old twins Emily and Lily attend Halfway Community Primary School and they, alongside 240 pupils aged three to 11, will be encouraged to wear their favourite hats and make a donation to Brain Tumour Research on Friday 25 March, as part of the charity’s iconic Wear A Hat Day event.

Jessica said: “One of the hardest parts of my hospital stay was being unable to see my husband and girls. I was really sad to miss the twins turning four at the end of January, as I was in hospital at the time. When I came home, the girls put on their nurses’ uniforms to celebrate ‘Mammy’ coming home.

“The school has been very supportive as I have undergone my treatment which has helped them and lots of the teachers supported me during my fundraising challenge too.”

Just a year after surgery, Jessica took part in the charity’s 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge, raising more than £3,180.

Jessica now has yearly scans to monitor what is left of her tumour and in December 2021, received news that the remainder of her tumour is stable.

Jessica’s scar post-op

Now in its 13th year, Wear A Hat Day has raised more than £2 million for Brain Tumour Research to help fund the fight against the disease. It is one of the UK’s biggest and best-loved brain tumour research awareness and fundraising days.

This year, the charity’s Wear A Hat Day pin badges have a regal theme in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and several of the charity’s celebrity ambassadors are fronting the campaign, including TV personalities Danny Clarke and Sarah Beeny, actor and long-time supporter Dame Sheila Hancock DBE, and brain tumour survivor Caprice Bourret. Danny lost his sister to a brain tumour; Sheila’s grandson was treated for the disease when he was just four years old; Sarah was in her 20s when she lost her mum to a brain tumour; Caprice had surgery for a brain tumour six years ago. They are encouraging everyone to take part and help fund the fight against this devastating disease.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Jessica for sharing her story with us and for her continuing support with fundraising. Jessica’s diagnosis reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can strike anyone at any time. We appreciate Halfway Community Primary School’s support and hope the children enjoy the day.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

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