Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
We have had yet another successful week of our COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, over 2.8 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered. Data published today shows that our incredible vaccination teams have now administered 1,948,683 first doses and 854,441 second doses, which is a total of 2,803,124 vaccinations.
I am proud to confirm that 77% of all adults in Wales have received their first vaccine and one in three adults have received their second dose to complete the course. Thank you to everyone who has said yes to the vaccine. This is incredible progress, but we need to continue doing the things that keep us safe until we are all protected.
I would like to reassure you once again that people’s safety always comes first. We will only use vaccines where it is safe to do so and the benefits continue to outweigh the risks. We are confident in the vaccines and certain that we must keep momentum. Alongside Public Health Wales and NHS Wales, we are working with other agencies to continually monitor vaccine safety and will keep this issue under close review.
On Friday 7 May, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated their expert advice and, as a precautionary measure, those under 40 years of age with no clinical risk factors who are not yet vaccinated, should be offered an alternate to AstraZeneca. We have immediately implemented this change into our programme. The appropriate vaccine will be made available at people’s appointments.
We do not envisage that this will lead to a delay to the roll out of our vaccine programme in Wales. We are continuing to work towards the third milestone set out in our Strategy, which is to offer a vaccine to everyone aged 18 and over by 31st July 2021. As we have regularly stated if vaccine supply allows us to move faster than we will do so.
Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should be reassured that they should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, in line with JCVI advice. Medical exemptions may apply to a very small minority.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has already saved thousands of lives and remains safe and effective for the majority of the population. Over 1.2million people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Wales since January, with very few cases of the rare clotting with thrombocytopenia event.
Vaccines remain the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against COVID-19 – it is important that when people are called forward, they should get their vaccination. It is also just as important that people come for the second dose to complete that protection. Every vaccination really does count.
Public Health Wales has helpful FAQs on their website about the vaccine and safety.
I am extremely grateful to all our NHS colleagues and all the volunteers across Wales whose continuous hard work and dedication is making our excellent progress through our COVID-19 vaccination programme possible. Soon we will have given 2 million first doses and 1 million second doses which is truly phenomenal progress in our fight against COVID-19.