Young people who are about to turn 18 are being invited to have their COVID-19 vaccine in Wales.
Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) young adults aged from 17 years and 9 months will either be invited to a booked appointment or they can attend a walk-in vaccination clinic where available in their local health board.
It is hoped take-up among this group, who are on the verge of entering the workplace or are about to start university in the autumn, will be high.
Almost 80% of adults in Wales have been fully vaccinated – the best rates in the UK and some of the best in the world.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Vaccines Gill Richardson said:
This is the next stage of our successful vaccination programme and the first step towards delivering vaccines to children and young people. We will move quickly to vaccinate those aged 12-17 who fall into the categories outlined by the recent JCVI guidance on vaccinating children.
Our vaccination programme continues to make outstanding progress, and more than 2 million people in Wales have been fully vaccinated. We are incredibly grateful for the work of all the NHS staff, volunteers and the military who have are making sure no one is left behind.
The lead-in time before they turn 18 is to ensure a good uptake of the vaccine in newly-turned 18 year olds as they become more mobile and more independent. Many will be entering the workplace or starting University in the autumn term.
The JCVI also advised that children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19, should be offered COVID-19 vaccination.
Health Boards are working to identify and issue invitations for vaccination to children covered by the JCVI advice.
Children and young people aged 12-17 who live with someone – either an adult or child – who are immunosuppressed will also be offered a vaccine to help protect those they live with. They will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:
We welcome the advice from the JCVI and agree with the approach. Our task now is to roll out this next stage of the vaccination programme out as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Wales has a world-leading vaccination programme and I’m grateful to everyone involved in it for the part they have played in making it such a success.
I want to encourage everyone to take up their offer of a vaccine to help protect themselves and their loved ones.