Healthcare workers across Cardiff are facing long delays booking coronavirus vaccine appointments with some calling hundreds of times a day.
One worker said they tried calling every day for a week, some times 80 times a day, and were still unable to get through.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has apologised and said it is aware of delays.
Amy, who works as a domiciliary carer and as a support worker in a semi-independent home, said on Wednesday she had been trying for days to book a slot.
The 21-year-old said: “I’ve been trying every day for a week, sometimes 80 times a day. It’s either the line is busy or I get through to a recorded message saying there are no queue positions available, dropping the call.
“People have suggested calling at 8am when lines open, however I start work at 7.30am so I don’t have the time to sit and ring a number for an hour.”
“It’s very frustrating and a bit daunting for the future. Only healthcare staff have been given the number and they are already overwhelmed, so I can’t imagine what will happen when they open it up to more people.”
It comes as the health board has said it doesn’t currently have “enough supply” of the coronavirus vaccine as it aims to meet the mid-February target set by the Welsh Government.
On Wednesday, Fiona Kinghorn, Cardiff And Vale University Health Board’s executive director of Public Health, said they might have to switch around vaccines to meet this five-week target.
By mid-February the aim in Wales is for all care home residents and staff; frontline health and social care staff; everyone over 70 and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, to have been offered vaccination. This is 740,350 people. You can read more about the targets here.
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Another healthcare worker in the area said they had to call “hundreds” of times in a day to get through and one managed to get an appointment after “three days of trying”.
Amy added that she knew of several colleagues facing the same issue. She said: “I am only aware of two people who actually managed to get through.”
The health board had carried out 14,930 vaccinations by the end of the day on Tuesday (January 12), and is starting the roll-out to over 80s and care homes.
But a GP has called the vaccine rollout “shambolic” as doctors’ surgeries across Wales complain about the number of doses of the vaccine they have received.
Some practices in Cardiff have posted photographs of the “disappointing” number of doses that have arrived.
Amy said: “They should have been more prepared for this situation. They know how many healthcare workers there are and therefore should have hired call centre staff accordingly. If that was impossible then an online booking system would be easier. It’s led to a very stressful situation and a lot of wasted time for everyone.”
Find out the number of cases where you live here:
A Cardiff and Vale University Health Board spokesman said: “Our aim is to vaccinate the population of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan as quickly as possible and we are prioritising groups 1-4 in line with JCVI guidance, which includes frontline health and social care workers.
“We are aware of some difficulties that some health and social care workers have faced trying to contact us to book their appointment, and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
“In response, we have significantly increased capacity on our phone lines and introduced an online form that health board staff can use to request an appointment, which they can access through our internal channels or via their line manager.
“Appointments will be confirmed within 36 hours of an online form being submitted. We are looking at similar options for social care staff.
“We appreciate people’s patience at this time and want to reassure frontline staff that you will receive your appointment in January.”