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Wales to roll out extra Covid booster in spring for over 75s and those at higher risk

21 Feb 2022 3 minute read
A woman receives the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at Pontcae Medical Practice on January 4, 2021 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

Wales will follow new advice from the UK’s vaccinations watchdog and roll out an extra Covid booster dose in the Spring for those over 75 and at higher risk from the virus.

Immunity may be waning for those who received their last dose in the autumn, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said.

Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan confirmed in a statement that vaccines would be rolled out in Wales over the next few months, and added that an additional shot could be given in the autumn.

“As we know, getting vaccinated is the best course of action people can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 and it is pleasing to note that 70% of those eligible have now received a COVID-19 booster dose in Wales,” Eluned Morgan said.

“Every vaccine given helps to keep Wales safe. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), as part of its latest review of the vaccination programme, has today published a statement, which recommends an additional spring booster dose for our most vulnerable individuals.

“In making this recommendation they considered available data from the UK and internationally which suggests that older people are more likely to experience waning of immunity due to a decreased capacity of the immune system to respond effectively to infections or vaccines, and much more likely to experience severe disease if infected.

“Practically, because they were prioritised for vaccination at the start of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, older persons are also now furthest in time from their last vaccine dose.”

‘Expert advice’

The Committee has recommended, as a precautionary strategy, a second booster dose in the spring for:

  • Adults aged 75 years and over;
  • Residents in a care home for older adults, and
  • Individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed

Eluned Morgan said that the JCVI had also signalled that an autumn booster would also be necessary.

“Winter remains the season when the threat from COVID-19 is greatest both for individuals and for health communities and, for the purposes of longer term planning, the JCVI has also signalled an autumn 2022 programme of vaccinations will be indicated for people who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, such as those of older age and in clinical risk groups,” she said.

“Precise details of an autumn programme will be made available at a later stage. As the COVID-19 pandemic moves further towards endemicity in the UK, the JCVI will continue to review the vaccination programme and I thank them for their expert advice.

“Whilst we continue to roll out our successful booster programme, it is not too late for anyone who needs a first, second or booster dose to be vaccinated. Health boards are actively following up on anyone who has not been able to take up their offer of a booster.

“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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