Two million COVID-19 booster vaccinations have been administered in Wales and all eligible people will be offered an autumn booster by the end of November, the Minister for Health and Social Services has announced.
Following a successful COVID-19 vaccination spring booster campaign, which saw 85% of adults aged 75 and over and almost 84% of care home residents take up the offer so far, all eligible individuals will be offered a COVID vaccine by the end of November and a flu vaccine by the end of December.
The national winter respiratory vaccination strategy outlines how COVID-19 and flu vaccines will be offered over the winter months with the aim of achieving at least 75% uptake of both vaccines.
To achieve this aim some people, including those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who are particularly vulnerable should they contract influenza or coronavirus, will be offered both vaccines in the same appointment.
The COVID-19 autumn booster will be available to residents and staff working in care homes for older adults, frontline health and social care workers, all those aged 50 and over and those aged 5 to 49 years in clinical risk groups, including pregnant women and household contacts of people with immunosuppression or carers aged 16 to 49.
The flu vaccine will once again be available to all those at risk, including adults aged 50 and over in Wales, children between the ages of 2 and 15, frontline health and social care staff, including those working in care homes and people aged 6 months to 49 years in a clinical risk group.
Both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations will be available for everyone who is 50 and over following the latest JCVI advice.
Those eligible for a COVID-19 autumn booster will be invited when it is their turn. Those eligible for a flu vaccine may already be familiar with arrangements for getting their vaccine. Information about eligibility and how to get a flu vaccine is available on the Public Health Wales website.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:
We are once again seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and increased pressure on our NHS. We expect both COVID-19 and flu to circulate widely this winter and must be prepared for much higher or unseasonal flu activity.
Vaccination is a vital tool for us all to protect ourselves and others as we learn how to live with COVID-19. This strategy sets out our plans for autumn-winter 2022-2023 and how we will offer both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines to those eligible, while being prepared to increase our capacity quickly, should we need to, in response to any future significant coronavirus pandemic wave or a new variant.
I want to maximise the uptake of both flu and COVID-19 vaccines for everyone who is eligible, and we will continue to work to ensure no-one is left behind. Getting vaccinated when you are invited is a decision we can all take to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities, I encourage everyone to take up their appointments this autumn to protect yourselves and keep Wales safe.
The winter respiratory vaccination strategy is guided by the latest clinical and scientific evidence and advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).