Just 15 weeks since the first vaccine in the Hywel Dda Health board region was given to a doctor at Withybush Hospital, 173,000 people in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have now received the first dose, latest health board figures show.

Dr Nicola Drake from Withybush Hospital’s A&E was the first person in the region to receive a vaccine, with figures now showing that as of 24 March, 173,177 first doses have been administered.

In Ceredigion, 43 per cent of the county’s population have now had their first jab, with 7.6 per cent completing the full two dose course.

The health board said the “uptake of the vaccine remains high” and the area remains on course to meet the targets set out to vaccinate all people in the highest priority groups by 18 April.

“Everyone in groups 5 to 9 should expect to receive their vaccine appointment by Easter Monday, 5 April,” the health board said.

“To ensure no one is left behind, on Tuesday, 6 April, the health board will launch an appeal asking people in groups 1 to 9 who have not been contacted to get in touch to arrange their first vaccine dose.”

The health board has also said that “confidence is building around the effectiveness of the vaccines”.

“Emerging evidence is clear on the impact of the vaccine in preventing severe disease and hospitalisation,” the health board added.

“That is now playing out in admissions to our hospitals, and thankfully, numbers of deaths from coronavirus being reported.