Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
The COVID-19 vaccination programme in Wales is now inviting individuals in cohort 6 of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list. These are the individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.
There have been no changes to cohort 6 of the prioritisation list, but I wanted to provide Members with clarification on how severe asthma has been defined for inclusion this cohort.
The Welsh Government, like the other UK nations, is following the advice of the JCVI who, since December 2020, has recommended that only those with severe asthma are at increased risk from COVID-19. Individuals with mild to moderate asthma are not at increased risk of severe outcomes with COVID-19 and not recommended for vaccination at this time by JCVI.
Only those with severe asthma are to be included in cohort 6 and they are defined as those with regular use of oral corticosteroids (at least three prescriptions in the past two years) or previously requiring hospital admission for an exacerbation of asthma. There is no time limit on when hospital admission occurred.
The Welsh Government wrote to primary care providers on 5 March 2021 to provide clarification and guidance on a number of groups in cohort 6, including asthma. This letter is being published alongside this written statement.
We have given a commitment, subject to supply, to offer vaccination all those in groups 5-9 by mid-April and those in groups 5 and 6 are currently being invited for their appointments.