All over-18s will be offered a Covid vaccine by the start of next week, as First Minister Mark Drakeford praised the people behind Wales’ world-leading vaccination programme.
Wales expects to reach 75% take-up for first jabs across all priority groups and age groups a month ahead of target – the original milestone was the end of July – as the nation’s vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.
The focus will now move to maximising vaccine coverage for all by ensuring everyone is offered a second dose by the end of September and that no one is left behind.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“I am very proud to say that Wales has one of the best Covid vaccination programmes in the world.
“We will make the offer of vaccination to all eligible adults six weeks ahead of schedule and we expect to reach 75% take-up across all priority groups and age groups a month ahead of target.
“This is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to the hard work of all those involved in the programme – to all those doing the complex work of planning behind the scenes and to the thousands of people vaccinating and helping to run the clinics across the country.
“You are doing a fantastic job. I am incredibly proud and thankful for everything you are doing to help protect Wales from this awful virus.”
The very latest figures, published today, show 2.18m people, or 86% of the adult population, have had a first dose and almost 1.25m people have had a second dose.
Take-up is higher than 90% for first doses in all people over 60; in healthcare workers; care home residents and staff and all those who are extremely clinically vulnerable.
An updated Vaccine Strategy is being published today, which sets out the next steps for the vaccination programme, including minimising inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind.
It highlights the importance of second doses, especially as the new delta variant is spreading in parts of the UK.
It also sets out the steps Wales is taking to prepare for any decisions by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about booster jabs and vaccinating children – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week approved a vaccine for use in children over 12.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan added:
“The success of our programme in Wales lies in the supply arrangements we have developed; in our determination to use every drop of vaccine – not to waste any and to store the vaccine in people’s arms, rather than in fridges.
“As we complete first doses, we will be re-doubling our efforts to make sure no one is left behind.
“Subject to vaccine supply, we are confident the delivery of second doses will continue to be as fast and successful as first doses.
“We expect all those who have come forward for their first dose to be offered a second dose by the end of September.”