Covid-19 vaccines only to be offered to elderly and immunosuppressed from now on
The Welsh Government has announced that Covid-19 vaccinations will only be offered to those at higher risk of severe illness.
Third doses of the Covid-19 booster were offered last autumn to people in Wales aged 16 – 49 years of age but the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that vaccines should move towards a more targeted offer to protect those at higher risk.
This means that from 2023 Covid-19 vaccinations will only be offered to specific people at certain times unless prescribed by a clinician.
Although a high level of immunity has developed in the population over the past two and a half years, the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is still greater for those in older age groups, residents in care homes and people with certain underlying health conditions.
There is still an uncertainty regarding virus evolution, the durability and breadth of immunity and the epidemiology of infection.
The JCVI has indicated that for the elderly and immunosuppressed, an extra booster vaccine dose may be offered in spring 2023, whilst for autumn 2023 people at higher risk would be offered a booster vaccine dose.
If a variant of concern were to emerge and display differences compared to the Omicron variant, emergency surge vaccine responses could be required.
Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services said she has accepted the advice in line with other UK nations and “subject to supply, NHS Wales stands ready to start operationalising this programme in 2023,”
She added: “As ever, I am extremely grateful to the NHS and everyone involved in the vaccination programme for their continued hard work.”
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