Provides updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme up to 30 November 2021.
Our COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy for Wales was published on 11 January 2021 and together with the below updates, sets out the detail of the Vaccination Programme in Wales.
What’s new since the last update?
Yesterday the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated their advice on the booster programme. In light of the threat posed by the new Variant of Concern, Omicron, the JCVI was asked to rapidly review the UK COVID-19 Vaccination programme.
The Committee was asked to look at what changes, if any, were needed to the programme and advise on a strategy to save lives, protect the NHS and reduce infection as far as possible, before the peak of any Omicron wave.
The JCVI has recommended an acceleration to the vaccination programme outlined below:
- All adults over 18 are now eligible for a booster, though priority should still be given to older adults and those at risk.
- Booster doses should be offered at a reduced minimum of three months after completion of the primary course.
- Individuals who are severely immunosuppressed who have completed their primary course of three doses should be offered a booster dose, with a minimum of three months between the third primary and booster dose, in line with clinical advice on optimal timing.
- Both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines should be used with equal preference in the COVID-19 booster programme. Both vaccines have been shown to substantially increase antibody levels when offered as a booster dose.
In addition, JCVI advises, as a secondary measure, that subject to appropriate consideration by deployment teams regarding feasibility, all children and young people aged 12 to 15 years should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a minimum of 12 weeks from the first dose. The interval for this group (and 16-17s) may be reduced to at least 8 weeks between doses if supported by the emerging epidemiological data.
The extent of protection COVID-19 vaccines will provide against the Omicron variant is not yet known, but the JCVI felt that accelerating the programme would maximise protection for individuals. Through extending eligibility and reducing the interval for booster, the aim is to reduce the impact of the new variant on the population, ahead of a wave of infection. The JCVI will continue to monitor the position as more data becomes available.
We will continue to follow the clinical and scientific evidence, as we have since the start of the pandemic. I have accepted the recommendations of the JCVI and Wales, in line with the other nations of the UK. NHS Wales will do all that is necessary to increase capacity to implement this advice.
In line with JCVI advice, our vaccination centres will provide a COVID-19 booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. Both vaccines are effective and have been approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
What about my appointment?
All individuals who are eligible for a booster will automatically receive an invitation to attend an appointment when it is their turn. Those who have already been given a booster appointment should attend on the date and time given. Appointments for all other individuals now eligible will be scheduled by their health board in line with the latest JCVI advice and in accordance with their age and clinical vulnerability.
There is no need to call your health board or GP to check if you have a booster appointment; you will be contacted when it is your turn.
Given the JCVI’s updated advice, there will be a significant number of vaccination appointments issuing over the coming weeks. To help our NHS, we ask people to keep their allocated appointment wherever possible. However, we expect our text message rescheduling service to go live today and we will achieve the next commitment in our Vaccination Strategy for Autumn and Winter. This means that from tomorrow, you will have the option to reschedule your appointment by text if you are not able to make your allocated appointment.
If you are aged over 18 or under 18 years in a high risk group and you get COVID-19 and are due to have your COVID-19 vaccination, you need to wait 28 days before having the vaccine, this is so that COVID-19 infection symptoms cannot be confused with post-vaccine symptoms.
And for children and young people under 18 years who are not in high risk groups JCVI have advised that following infection, you should ideally wait 12 weeks before having the vaccine.
Nobody left behind
Now more than ever, with the threat of this new variant, it is important that people come forward for their appointments when called, especially those who have yet to take up their first or second dose.
If you have not had a first or second dose it is not too late to come forward. Anyone looking to receive their primary course (that’s the first or second dose) is able to contact their health board to arrange vaccination. If you have had your primary course and are waiting for your booster vaccination we do ask that you remain patient and wait to be called. No one who chooses to be vaccinated will be left behind. Vaccination teams can answer any questions you may have about vaccination and support you to get vaccinated. Most mass vaccination centres have quiet areas for people to sit whilst waiting and many also have specialist nurses in attendance, to assist those who may need some extra support.
Public Health Wales has FAQs about the vaccine and safety.
COVID-19 vaccination status
From 11 October, the COVID Pass is compulsory for everyone attending:
- nightclubs and similar venues
- indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people. This would include conventions and concerts
- outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people
- any setting or event for more than 10,000 people, such as a rugby or football match
From 15 November, the COVID Pass will also be needed to attend
- Concert halls
The COVID Pass confirms your vaccination status or that you have had a negative lateral flow test result within the past 48 hours. If you are registered with a GP in the UK, were vaccinated in Wales or England and are aged 16 or over, you can get a digital NHS COVID Pass.
Guidance to stakeholders can be found using the following link: https://gov.wales/covid-pass-guidance-businesses-and-events-html#section-81928
Further information and guidance will be made available by the Welsh Government in the near future. The current guidance on accessing the COVID Pass can be found at: https://gov.wales/get-nhs-covid-pass-show-your-vaccination-status-travel
Who is currently getting vaccinated?
We are administering vaccination as follows:
- First doses for everyone aged 12 and over so that no one is left behind
- Second doses for all those who are eligible
- Third primary and booster doses for the severely immunosuppressed
- Booster doses for those who are eligible
As we continue to operate on the principle of no one left behind, the NHS continues to go back and offer those who have not taken up their offer yet.
Summary of our overall progress:
- In total more than 5.61 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Wales
- More than 2.46 million people have had a first dose and more than 2.26 million people have received their full course of vaccine
- 71.8% of adults aged 18 to 29 and 74.6% of adults aged 30 to 39 have received their second dose
- 76.2% of 16 and 17 year olds have received their initial dose and 53.8% of 12 to 15 year olds have received a first dose
- More than 42,000 people who are severely immunosuppressed have received their third primary dose
- More than 840,000 people have received a booster
- 32.1% of people in Wales aged 12+ have received a booster or third dose
- 81.6% of care home residents, 63.1% of care home staff and 80% of adults aged over 80 have received their booster dose
Help on how to get your vaccination is available: Get your COVID-19 vaccination
There is further information about the COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy available: COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy - Public Health Wales (nhs.wales)
UK Health Security Agency (formerly known as Public Health England PHE) study provides more safety data on COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy: New UKHSA study provides more safety data on COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
A range of information on our vaccination programme is available on our website, including guidance published relating to the priority groups.
Welsh Government statisticians are also publishing some of the more operational statistics attached to the programme each week.