Update on the progress of our flu and COVID-19 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.
Vaccination Transformation Programme
Working with our NHS colleagues, we are currently developing a new National Immunisation Framework for Wales, this framework will set out our ambitions for wider vaccination transformation to improve service provision for everyone in Wales. The framework will be published late October 2022.
Existing good practice will serve as the foundation for the transformation; and the existing programmes will continue to operate effectively during the transition to ensure the people of Wales remain protected.
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
We are in the process of inviting other eligible groups for COVID-19 vaccination. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has identified these as:
- 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.
Summary of our overall progress
Since commencement of the Winter Respiratory Vaccination Programme on 1 September:
- 471,488 COVID-19 boosters have been given (as at 17 October 2022)
Uptake data on flu will be included when it becomes available.
Protecting your health service this winter
As part of this winter’s Respiratory Vaccination Programme, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) is offering both flu and COVID-19 vaccines to staff who attend a mass vaccination centre. Both vaccines can be given at the same time, which is both more convenient and more timely, ensuring staff are protected ahead of the winter period. By taking up this offer, staff are keeping themselves fit and well, and helping to ensure healthcare services can continue to meet the needs of patients during the next few months. ABUHB will be making this offer to staff between September to November as part of their scheduled COVID-19 autumn booster. All staff are being encouraged to take up this offer.
All those eligible will receive an invitation for their COVID-19 booster by 30 November.
All those eligible will receive an invitation for their flu vaccine by 31 December.