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Update on the progress of our vaccination programme.

First published:
30 March 2023
Last updated:


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

Programme update

The winter respiratory vaccination programme (WRVP) commenced on 1 September 2022 and ran until 31 March 2023. It brought together the COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes. An announcement has been made on the ending of the original, universal offer of a primary course and booster to everyone aged over 5. More information and further details are available in the ministerial statement. The minister has announced there will be a COVID-19 vaccination spring booster programme. Those eligible will receive an offer of a vaccination appointment from 1 April 2023.

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. The final phase of the programme saw all health boards operating walk-in clinics to ensure accessibility for all those eligible to take up their vaccination offers.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) 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 (
  • persons aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression, as defined in the Green Book (
  • persons aged 16-49 who are carers

All individuals eligible for flu vaccination, which includes everyone over 50, should have had an opportunity to receive their vaccination. All health boards offered flexible options, with ‘walk-in’ arrangements in some places across Wales, including for children to receive their flu nasal spray.

Protecting children and young people

The following were 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

To ensure vaccine uptake was maximised this year, particularly in the context of the high levels of respiratory illnesses circulating in the community over the winter and other viruses, such as scarlet fever and streptococcus A (strep A), ‘walk in’ options were now available to provide greater flexibility for families and ensure levels of protection were maximised.

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. This was at the forefront of our approach throughout the programme.

Following advice from the JCVI, we announced the offer of the universal booster (third) dose, offered from autumn 2021 to all the population aged over 5, would cease on 31 March 2023. The offer of the initial two dose universal primary course of vaccine, that was offered from December 2020 to all the population aged over 5, will cease on 30 June 2023.

This does not signal a closure of the COVID-19 vaccination programme; we expect COVID-19 vaccination to continue to be a feature of our vaccination programme in Wales. People who develop a new health condition that places them in a clinical risk group, who haven’t yet had their primary course and/or booster dose, will still be able to be vaccinated during the next campaign window or sooner on the advice of a clinician.  

Additionally, as previously announced, people at higher risk (as determined by the JCVI) will be offered an additional booster in autumn 2023 and planning is also currently underway for a possible spring 2023 booster programme, subject to advice shortly on this from the JCVI.

The vaccine continues to be the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of COVID-19 and everyone eligible who has not yet had their primary course is urged to come forward before this universal offer ends on 30 June.

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 and an opportunity to receive their flu vaccine by 31 December. While the winter respiratory vaccination programme has now ended, and focus has shifted to final preparations from the Spring booster programme, we do not yet have the final uptake data. This will be available in the coming weeks.  

Since commencement of the winter respiratory vaccination programme on 1 September:

  • 1,154,555 COVID-19 boosters have been given (as at 4 April 2023)
  • 15,743 COVID-19 boosters have been given to staff working in care homes (as at 4 April 2023)
  • 11,334 COVID-19 boosters have been given to care home residents (as at 4 April 2023)
  • 38,287 COVID-19 boosters have been given to people who are severely immunosuppressed (as at 4 April 2023)

The summary of flu uptake published by Public Health Wales on 30 March 2023 notes the following uptake levels, which are broadly in line with previous years at this point in the campaign:

  • 76.3% of 65 years and older
  • 44.2% of those at risk aged 6 months to 64 years
  • 44.0% of children aged 2 and 3 years
  • 46.0% of NHS staff

Additional information about the vaccination programme

Public Health Wales has FAQs about the vaccines and safety. They also publish regular surveillance data releases.

Read a range of information on our vaccination programme, including how to get your vaccination