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Provides updated information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme up to 21 September 2021.

First published:
21 September 2021
Last updated:

Overview

Our COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy for Wales was published on 11 January 2021. Together with the below updates it sets out the detail of the Vaccination Programme in Wales.

COVID-19 vaccination strategy update February 2021 

COVID-19 vaccination strategy update March 2021 

COVID-19 vaccination strategy update June 2021

Our strategy is focused on 3 key areas:

  • Our priorities – we continue to work closely with the UK Government on supply. Based on what we know about supply and the priority cohorts set by the JCVI, we have set key milestones.
     
  • Our vaccination infrastructure – making sure that people can access their vaccination offer - the places to go to get vaccinated, people to give the vaccination and the appointment and digital recording and reporting system set up.
     
  • Keeping up to date and informed about the vaccination programme – we are committed to providing information to keep everyone in Wales updated about the vaccination programme.

What’s new since the last update?

There have been four announcements since the last update, these are: 

  • advice on a third primary dose for the severely immunosuppressed
  • advice on vaccination of 12-15 year olds
  • advice on the booster campaign
  • update on the COVID Pass

Advice on a third primary dose for the severely immunosuppressed

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have published advice for individuals who are severely immunosuppressed. The JCVI advises that a third primary vaccine dose be offered to individuals aged 12 years and over with severe immunosuppression at the time of either, or both, of their first two vaccine doses. This is because some individuals who are immunosuppressed due to underlying health conditions or medical treatment may not produce a full immune response to COVID-19 vaccination. The JCVI advise a preference for mRNA vaccine for the third primary dose, and we have good supply of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine ready. The JCVI will review whether individuals who are severely immunosuppressed require a booster dose following completion of their three-dose primary vaccine course.

The NHS will work quickly to identify eligible individuals who are severely immunosuppressed and they will automatically be contacted with an appointment at a time that is right for them during their treatment plan. 

Advice on vaccination of 12-15 year olds

The 4 UK Chief Medical Officers have recommended that all children and young people aged 12-15 not already covered by existing JCVI advice should be offered a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that for children and young people aged 12-15 without underlying health conditions, the individual health benefits from vaccination are slightly greater than the potential known harms, but that the margin of benefit, is considered too small to recommend a universal programme of vaccination. 

The JCVI was of the view there were wider issues outside their remit to evaluate, for example, education and mental health issues, on which they recommended the 4 UK CMOs were best placed to advise. 

After careful consideration by the 4 UK CMOs, further informed by independent senior clinical and public health input from across the UK, it was felt the additional likely benefits of reducing educational disruption and the resulting reduction in public health harm provided enough extra advantage to recommend in favour of vaccinating this group. 

Our NHS will work in the next couple of weeks to begin offering a dose of vaccine to all children and young people aged 12-15. We have a blended model of offering the vaccine with all health boards primarily inviting this age group to vaccination centres with some areas going through schools.

The vaccine is not mandatory and people can choose whether to have the vaccine or not. There will be appropriate information made available for children and young people and their parents to make up their minds about vaccination. Parents or guardians will be asked to give consent and parents, guardians, children and young people are encouraged to discuss together whether or not to have the vaccination. In the small number of situations where young people and parents are not agreed about the benefits of the vaccine, we would follow the law and best practice on respecting children’s rights and parental responsibility. This might include individual clinical discussions and documentation of Gillick competence, as appropriate, which is standard practice in other vaccine administration.

The Gillick test provides that if a child under the age of 16 has sufficient understanding and intelligence to understand what is being proposed, care and treatment can be provided without parental consent. 

Advice on the booster campaign

The JCVI has published its final advice on the next stage of the COVID-19 Vaccination programme – the autumn booster campaign.

The JCVI recommends that individuals who were eligible and received vaccination in phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme (priority groups 1-9) should be offered a dose of COVID-19 booster vaccine with a minimum 6-month interval after the 2nd dose. An mRNA vaccine is recommended (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) no matter which vaccine was given as a primary dose.  

The single priority group lists:

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the Green Book), and adult carers 
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

We have been planning for an autumn booster with health boards over the summer months. Our NHS in Wales is ready and has started offering a booster vaccine to people living and working in care homes and frontline health and social care staff.

As most younger adults will have received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose in late summer, the benefits of booster vaccination in this group will be considered at a later time, by the JCVI, when more information is available. 

There may be opportunities to offer for the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine to be co-administered, but this is only where timing and logistics allow. 

The COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against hospitalisation or dying from the virus. The aim of the booster campaign is to reduce any further incidence of COVID-19 and maximise protection in those who are most vulnerable to serious infection, ahead of the winter months. 

It is important that those eligible under the JCVI advice receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, when they are called for an appointment, as there is the possibility of reduced immunity of their previous doses over time.

COVID-19 vaccination status 

In his 21 day review statement, the First Minister confirmed that the COVID Pass would be compulsory for everyone attending:

  • nightclubs and similar venues
  • indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people. This would include conventions and concertso
  • outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people
  • any setting or event for more than 10,000 people, such as a rugby or football match

The COVID Pass confirms your vaccination status or that you have had a negative lateral flow test result within the past 48 hours. If you are registered with a GP in the UK, were vaccinated in Wales or England and are aged 16 or over, you can get a digital NHS COVID Pass.

The mandatory scheme will start in Wales on the 11 October. However, you are already able to access your pass using the NHS digital system which will allow you to produce a COVID Pass using a smart phone, a computer or laptop. You can access your pass using the following link

Further information and guidance will be made available by the Welsh Government in the near future.

The current guidance on accessing the COVID Pass can be found at: https://gov.wales/get-nhs-covid-pass-show-your-vaccination-status-travel

Who is currently getting vaccinated?

As we continue to operate on the principle of no one left behind, the NHS continues to go back and offer those in priority groups 1-9 who, for various reason, have not yet taken up their offer. 

That means, we are now vaccinating:

  • first doses for remaining adults aged 18 and over so that no one is left behind
  • initial dose for young people aged 16 and 17
  • first doses for children aged 12 to 15 
  • second doses for all those who are eligible
  • third primary dose for the immunosuppressed
  • booster doses for the most vulnerable 

Summary of our overall progress:

  • Over the weekend the booster campaign started in Wales.
  • Care home residents in Wales were the first in the UK to get their COVID-19 booster. Mobile vaccination teams from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board gave residents in care home in Treorchy their booster on Saturday.
  • In total more than 4.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Wales.
  • High take up of both first and second doses in priority groups 1-4, protecting our most vulnerable.
  • More than 2.38 million people have had a first dose and more than 2.2 million people have received their full course of vaccine.
  • 77% of adults aged 18-29 and 78% of adults aged 30-39 have received their first dose.
  • 70% of 16 and 17 year olds have received their initial dose.
  • Invitations will go out to children and young people aged 12t o 15 this week.
  • The vaccine is the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of the disease.

Further information

The vaccine continues to be the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of COVID-19 and everyone is urged to take-up their offer of a vaccine. 

The Chief Medical Officer encourages pregnant women to have their COVID-19 vaccine – see his statement here: Chief Medical Officer encourages pregnant women to have COVID-19 vaccine

Help on how to get your vaccination is available: Get your COVID-19 vaccination | GOV.WALES

Public Health Wales has FAQs about the vaccine and safety. They also publish daily and weekly surveillance data releases.

A range of information on our vaccination programme is available on our website, including guidance published relating to the priority groups. 

Welsh Government statisticians are also publishing some of the more operational statistics attached to the programme each week.