Wales to ‘try’ and give adults booster jabs by end of December as first Omicron patient enters hospital in Wales
Wales’ Chief Medical Officer has said that they will “try” and move the target of offering all adults a booster dose by the end of December, as the first patient has entered a hospital in Wales infected with the Omicron variant.
Dr Frank Atherton said that he had previously thought that Omicron was a problem for January but he now expected a rising tide of infections sooner as Omicron spread in the community over Christmas.
He added that it was almost inevitable that some new restrictions would be introduced but that a national lockdown was not expected.
“What we’re doing in Wales is, as with the rest of the UK – as the Prime Minister announced yesterday – we are accelerating the process of boosters,” he told BBC Radio Wales.
“We had a plan in Wales to offer everyone in Wales a booster shot by the end of January and we’re going to try and move that forwards now towards the end of December.”
He said that despite only having 15 confirmed cases in ales they were “almost certainly” a lot more and it was spreading in the community.
“It will almost inevitably lead to more people in hospital and we are starting to see that across the UK, and here in Wales,” he said.
“I’m very worried about what is going to happen over the next two or three weeks. For the simple reason that the doubling time of the infection in the UK seems to be about two days – if we’re lucky.
“And that rapidly leads us into huge waves of community transmission.” He said that would transform into hospital admissions two weeks later, and two weeks after that into deaths.
“When I first heard about Omicron I thought it would be a problem for January or February. With these doubling rates and the likely transmission in communities, we’re far more likely to see a problem running into the Christmas period and then into January.
“So that’s what has led us needing to raise the alert level.”
One member of the Welsh Government took to Twitter to say that they would put a plan in place before announcing a change in the booster target date as Prime Minister Boris Johnson had in England.
Quoting a GP who said that she had not been informed that the target had changed in England from the end of January to the end of December before hearing it from the Prime Minister on television, Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters said:
“No ‘non-urgent’ GP appointments in England from today. Just as we did with the roll-out of the 1st jabs we are focusing on planning first to ensure an effective programme.”
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