Here's the latest Argus column by Torfaen County Borough Council leader Cllr Anthony Hunt:

OUR health service and social care staff have been real heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic, taking care of those unwell or vulnerable thanks to this awful virus.

On top of that task, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board staff are now helping run the biggest vaccination roll-out ever seen. Thank you to every one of them.

I know vaccinators have been working long hours to get as many people in the key priority groups vaccinated as possible.

Thank you also to those acting in support or administrative roles – council staff working in partnership with the health board, Torfaen Leisure Trust for their amazing support efforts and our armed forces for the role they’re playing at the mass vaccination centres including at Cwmbran Stadium.


Thanks to this teamwork, real progress is being made.

Each day more and more people in the first priority groups – health and care workers and over 80s – get this vital jab.

Meanwhile, the mobile units are working their way around care homes to give the vaccine to their residents.

So I know people are anxious, but progress is being made.

There are around 366,000 people in Wales in those first two priority groups, then another 374,000 in the next two priority groups - over 70s and the shielding group.

So that’s a lot of injections to arrange and give out, with the aim of getting through these groups by mid-February.

At the end of last week, 86,000 people had received a first dose.

Thousands more are due to get vaccinated this week.

The number of centres and appointments is increasing each week, working with more than 100 GPs surgeries in Wales by the end of this week and some pharmacies too.

When it’s your turn, you’ll get contacted by letter or phone.

Please don’t phone your GP or the health board before then, as that takes away staff from running the programme.

What you’ll never be asked to do is to pay for this vaccine or to share your bank details. The jab is free on the NHS, so beware of some of the unscrupulous scammers trying to take advantage of peoples’ concerns.

I know how vital the vaccine is to providing the light at the end of the tunnel that we’ve all been waiting for.

I’ll do everything I can to help the health board with this rollout and provide updates for residents.

I’m not really interested in the politics of this or people trying to use the issue to promote their constitutional preferences, I think most people are just keen to hear this information so they know what’s going on.

After all, even if you’re near the back of the queue like me, I’m sure you have more vulnerable friends or relatives you’re thinking of. If we all take care and stick to the rules, together we can get through these tough times.