JCVI say no to fourth dose for now – but NHS Wales ready to roll it out if they do recommend it says First Minister
A fourth dose of the Covid vaccine is not yet needed, according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which advises the Welsh Governments and others on vaccine policy.
They said that the third, booster dose continues to provide high protection against severe disease from the Omicron variant of Covid among older adults. Only extremely vulnerable patients with impaired immune systems are advised to have four shots.
Prof Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s chair of COVID-19 immunisation, said: “The current data show the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups.
“This is highly encouraging and emphasises the value of a booster jab.
“With Omicron continuing to spread widely, I encourage everyone to come forwards for their booster dose, or if unvaccinated, for their first two doses, to increase their protection against serious illness.”
The First Minister Mark Drakeford had said at today’s press conference that Wales’ NHS stood ready to administer the fourth dose if the JCVI said it was needed.
“We met with the JCVI on Tuesday and they haven’t made a decision yet on the fourth dose, but the people who run our vaccine programme are preparing now to implement whatever the JCVI says,” Mark Drakeford said.
“As we showed in the last fortnight of December, when the JCVI’s advice does come we have fantastic people in Wales who can implement things quickly and successfully.”
Some countries such as Israel have already started administering fourth doses to combat the Omicron variant.