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Winter will be ‘incredibly difficult’ says Wales’ Health Minister as she urges booster jab and flu shot uptake

12 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
A patient is given the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at Pontcae Medical Practice in Merthyr Tydfil

Wales’ Health Minister has said that this winter will be “incredibly difficult” as she urged as many people as possible to take up the offer of a booster Covid jab and flu vaccine.

Eluned Morgan said that the Welsh Government has set a target of 31 December to give the majority of those eligible for a booster jab their third dose.

Everyone in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)’s 1-9 priority groups will be invited for a booster vaccination when it has been at least six months since their last dose. As before, invitation letters will be sent directly from health boards and people are requested not to contact their GP.

In an updated COVID-19 vaccination strategy, being published today, Health Minister Eluned Morgan also confirmed that by November 1 all 12-15 year olds would be dosed and a booster vaccination would be rolled out for care home residents and health and care staff.

“This winter will be incredibly difficult for our health service so it is vitally important for people to take up the offer of their COVID-19 and Flu vaccine if eligible to protect themselves and the NHS,” Health Minister.

“Vaccinations for coronavirus are highly effective and protection against hospitalisation is estimated at around 95 per cent after the second dose. The flu vaccine will also protect people from serious complications and I encourage anyone who is eligible to get their flu vaccine regardless of their eligibility for a COVID-19 booster vaccine.

“We have so far given more than 4.6 million COVID-19 vaccinations and 85 per cent of the over 16 population are fully vaccinated.

“There is no concern over the supply of any of the vaccines and we hope as many people as possible take up the offers to continue to protect those most vulnerable and the NHS.”

Doses

Health boards are already making good progress in providing the booster, vaccinating 16 and 17 year olds and 12-15 year olds, including those most of risk due to underlying health conditions, the Health Minister said.

They are also encouraging 12-15 year olds to have a conversation about having the vaccine with their family or trusted adult.

Most younger adults will only have received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose in late summer or early autumn and they will still have a high level of protection. The benefits of booster vaccination in this group will be considered when more information becomes available, the Welsh Government said.

The strategy also sets out that a digital booking system is being developed to allow people to book appointments online to try to make it as easy of possible for people to come forward at a time which suits them.

Appointments for first doses of COVID-19 vaccines are still available for anyone unvaccinated.

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