Update on the progress of our vaccination programme.
Our Winter respiratory vaccination strategy sets out our plans for an integrated vaccination programme. It details how we will offer both the flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines to eligible individuals this year.
Our 3 main priorities for our winter respiratory vaccination programme are:
- protecting those at greatest risk
- protecting children and young people
- ensuring that nobody is left behind by continuing to offer the initial course of the COVID-19 vaccine
The Winter Respiratory Vaccination Programme (WRVP) commenced on 1 September 2022. It brings together the COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes.
Progress against strategy
Protecting those at greatest risk
Vaccination for the COVID eligible groups started on 1 September. The programme began vaccinating:
- residents and staff working in care homes for older adults
- individuals who are housebound
- frontline health and social care workers
All individuals eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination should now have received their vaccination offer. If you are eligible but have not received your invite, please contact your local health board. All health boards are now operating walk-in clinics. You can find out more information on your health board’s website.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has identified these groups as eligible for a booster:
- all adults aged 50 years and over
- persons aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group, as set out in the Green Book (gov.uk)
- persons aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression, as defined in the Green Book (gov.uk)
- persons aged 16-49 who are carers
All those eligible for a flu vaccine, which includes everyone over 50, is encouraged to find out more about how they can access their vaccine in their area of Wales.
Protecting children and young people
The following are eligible for the flu vaccination this year:
- children aged 2 and 3 years
- children in primary school from reception class to Year 6
- children and young people in secondary school Year 7 to Year 11
- people aged 6 months to 49 years in a clinical risk group as set out in the Welsh Health Circular on flu
Parents or guardians will be asked to give consent. We encourage parents, guardians, children and young people to discuss together whether or not to have the vaccination. Factual information is available on the Public Health Wales website to help make this decision.
Most children and young people will get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre. Some areas will also be offering the vaccine through special schools. Vaccine roll-out will be informed by local knowledge and may change depending on circumstances.
Health boards will mainly use school nursing services to deliver the children’s nasal flu spray vaccine. Follow up sessions and the use of GPs will also be part of the vaccination deployment model.
Nobody left behind
Vaccine equity remains a key principle of Wales’ vaccination programme. The ‘nobody left behind’ principle, embedded into our vaccination strategy, is built on the premise that everyone should have fair access and fair opportunity to take up the offer of a vaccination.
Health Boards are continuing to work in partnership with wider stakeholder groups and key partners. The NHS will continue to make the vaccine available and accessible to achieve high levels of uptake.
The National Immunisation Framework describes vaccination equity as being at the core of service design and delivery. The Framework outlines key actions to make this a reality for all vaccination programmes.
Summary of our overall progress
In line with our strategy, all eligible individuals were issued with an invitation to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by 30 November.
Since commencement of the Winter Respiratory Vaccination Programme on 1 September:
- 1,058,129 COVID-19 boosters have been given (as at 12 December 2022)
- 14,898 COVID-19 boosters have been given to staff working in care homes (as at 12 December 2022)
- 12,603 COVID-19 boosters have been given to care home residents (as at 12 December 2022)
- 36,392 COVID-19 boosters have been given to people who are severely immunosuppressed (as at 12 December)
The summary of flu uptake published by Public Health Wales on 8 December notes the following uptake levels, which are broadly in line with previous years at this point in the campaign:
- 72.5% of 65 years and older
- 38.5% of those at risk aged 6 months to 64 years
- 35.4% of children aged 2 and 3 years
- 33.7% of NHS staff
Case study: Care home Swansea Bay University Health Board
Care Home Manager in Swansea Bay University Health Board urges COVID-19 and flu vaccinations in care home staff
A care home manager has shared her powerful experience of COVID-19 to encourage colleagues to take up the offer of vaccination.
Swansea Bay University Health Board produced a video with Michelle Stanton. Michelle works at Baglan Lodge care home in Port Talbot. She speaks about the early days of the pandemic that saw the tragic loss of 6 residents in just 2 weeks.
Michelle explains that the situation has only improved due to the vaccination programme. She urges colleagues to take up the offer of the COVID-19 autumn booster. She also explains how “flu can be a killer." Especially for those residents with breathing difficulties and heart problems.
Michelle urges care home staff to take their offers of COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. This 'small sacrifice' means continued protection for the vulnerable people they care for.
The video was shared on the Swansea Bay University Health Board Facebook page. One care worker commented:
Lovely clip. I was thinking I didn’t want my next jab Michelle. This changed my mind. Thank you.
All those eligible will receive an invitation for their flu vaccine by 31 December.