Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Today, I am publishing an update to our COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy which sets out achievements to date and our intentions as we move forward into the next phase. I will also be publishing the COVID-19 vaccination programme weekly update tomorrow.
Since the last update, we have marked a number of significant achievements; in particular, we have delivered 2,183,455 first doses and 1,249,268 second doses, with 86.5% of adults in Wales now having received their first dose. This is excellent news, and goes to show the incredible pace of our vaccine rollout. I am confident that early next week we will have offered a first dose to all our over 18s. At this rate, and subject to supply, I am also confident that we will be about a month early in achieving milestone 3 (to have offered all adults their first dose with at least a 75% uptake in each age group) by the end of July. In reality, the percentage of people who have taken up their offer of a vaccine is far higher, which was always our aim.
As we continue to sprint towards this milestone and to the end of this phase of the vaccination programme, we are already looking to the rolling out of the second vaccination dose. Our aim is for everybody who has had a first dose to also take up their second dose, across all the age ranges. Subject to vaccine supply or further JCVI advice we are confident the delivery of second doses will continue to be as swift 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. Health boards continue to have local discretion and flexibility to interpret the guidance, based on what would work operationally locally or hyper-locally, which includes bringing forward second doses. We are also planning for reoffering the vaccine to those who did not take up the original offer. Our NHS continue to work to make sure that no one is left behind.
The strategy update also sets out the action we are taking now to prepare for what comes next with the potential for a booster and a vaccine for children. There are a number of clinical trials underway to understand more about booster vaccinations and the vaccination of children The JCVI will be considering all the evidence and providing advice on the way forward in the coming weeks.
To underpin delivery, we will be establishing an online booking system in the Autumn to allow people to amend and book appointments which are convenient for them. This could be used for other vaccines moving forward.
I am determined this next phase in our fight against the Coronavirus is as successful as our previous phases in helping keep Wales safe.
Finally, once again, I would like to thank all those involved in the vaccine rollout, as well as the more than 2 million individuals who have taken up their offer of vaccination. For those who have not yet taken up the offer, it is never too late and I urge you to arrange an appointment through your local health board.