Third peak ‘could be bigger than January’ in Wales as second jabs for over 40 year olds brought forward
A “very sizeable” third peak of coronavirus in Wales could be larger than January, the deputy chief medical officer for Wales has said.
However, it remains unclear whether the Delta variant will lead to as many people being hospitalised in Wales as previously, Dr. Chris Jones said.
Second dose appointments for over 40s are going to be brought forward as the Delta variant is “moving quickly” in Wales.
A range of scenarios were possible and there was “a lot of uncertainty” about how the Delta variant was behaving, he said. “We have to hold tight and gather further evidence about how things are going,” he added. “It’s something of a race between the virus and vaccination.”
The Welsh Government aims to give everyone over 50 and in priority groups a second dose within the next four weeks. There are 579 confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Wales.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones said that Wales was at the start of a third peak, and they were seeing “more and more unliked cases” in all parts of Wales.
“Four out of five cases are of the Delta variant,” he said. “2hat we don’t know yet is whether as cases rise again it will cause an increase in hospital admissions and deaths
“Based on experience in Scotland the risk of being admitted to Scotland if you haven’t been vaccinated is at least doubled.”
Wales remained two or three weeks behind England and Scotland, he added. 73 people have died in England after contracting Delta variant
Health Minister Eluned Morgan added that Wales now had the highest percentage of adults who had received both first and second doses, and there was evidence that it reduced the transmission rate.
They would be using the next four-week period “to speed up vaccinations” she said. “Between now and mid-July an extra half a million vaccines will be brought into the system,” she added.
“We will be focused on offering a second dose to everyone in priority groups one to nine over the next four weeks,” she said. “That’s everyone over 50, all healthcare workers, social care workers, and other vulnerable groups, including care home residents.
“And, subject to supply, we’ll be bringing forward appointments for the people over 40 so they don’t have to wait longer than eight weeks between their first and second doses.
“We are already making really good progress with second doses – take up is incredibly high at more than 90% in everyone over 65.”