Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Today, I will publish the latest version of our COVID-19 vaccination programme update which includes a summary of advice issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation issued over recess.
I am pleased to confirm that over recess we achieved our aim of offering all eligible adults a booster appointment by 31 December 2021. Offers were made to anyone eligible through a range of methods including letters, texts, online booking and walk-in options. More than 1.7 million boosters have been given to date, with 83.4 per cent of over 50s receiving the booster dose. I thank everyone who kept their appointment and accepted the offer of their booster.
As ever, I am extremely grateful to our NHS Wales teams, their partner organisations and all volunteers who have worked tirelessly through these busy times and given up their Christmas break to deliver this monumental task.
On 7 January, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a statement, which included information about the booster programme and the Omicron variant. They also cited evidence, which indicated that the booster programme has provided high levels of protection against severe disease from COVID-19 (both Delta and Omicron variants) across the population. The JCVI recently reviewed the potential health benefits of an immediate additional booster dose for the most vulnerable in response to the current Omicron wave. Though at this time, JCVI advised that the priority for the COVID-19 booster programme remains increasing coverage of the first booster dose across the adult population and stressed the importance of unvaccinated individuals, especially vulnerable adults, receiving a primary course of vaccination. The JCVI will continue to monitor the booster programme and keep under review the possibility of whether second boosters are needed.
Nobody will be left behind. Anyone who needs a first, second or booster dose can still be vaccinated. Health boards are actively following up on anyone who has not been able to take up their offer of a booster.
If it has been three months since your second dose and you do not believe you have received a letter, call or text about a booster appointment, please contact your local health board. They will also have details on their website on what to do if you think you have been missed. Every vaccine given helps to Keep Wales Safe.