Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is an independent expert advisory committee, which advises United Kingdom health departments about immunisation, making recommendations about vaccination schedules and vaccine safety.
As part of its latest review of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the JCVI has today published a statement with its final advice on eligibility for the autumn 2023 Covid-19 booster programme. As ever, the primary aim of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is to boost immunity in those at higher risk from Covid-19 and to improve protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.
For autumn 2023, the JCVI is recommending a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine be offered to:
- Residents in a care home for older adults
- All adults aged 65 years and over
- Persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as defined in tables 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 chapter of the Green Book
- Frontline health and social care workers
- Persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts, as defined in the Green Book, of people with immunosuppression
- Persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers, as defined in the Green Book, and staff working in care homes for older adults
This advice differs slightly from the 2022 autumn programme, as the age threshold for adults who are not in a clinical risk group or a household contact of someone with immunosuppression, has increased to 65. Given the high proportion of older adults with comorbidities and the higher uptake seen in universal age-based programmes, the JCVI considers at this transition stage of the pandemic recovery, it is cost effective and appropriate to offer vaccination to all adults aged 65 years and over. This means the age threshold for a Covid-19 autumn booster aligns with eligibility for flu vaccination in 2023.
The JCVI additionally advises that a primary course Covid-19 vaccination should change to consist of a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Eligibility for the offer of primary vaccination will be the same as for autumn 2023 booster vaccination, as the universal offer finished on the 30th June.
Alongside my UK counterparts, I have accepted this advice. Further advice on the preferred vaccine products for the autumn is expected from JCVI shortly. Planning is already underway by NHS organisations to prepare for the autumn programme.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.