All over-50s and those at risk to be offered Covid-19 vaccine in Wales by spring

Everyone aged over 50 and those at risk due to underlying health conditions are to be offered the Covid-19 vaccine in Wales by the spring, the health minister has said.

The Welsh Government published its Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, which sets out three key milestones, on Monday.

All care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care staff, everyone aged over 70 and people who are clinically vulnerable will be offered vaccination by mid-February.

By the spring, all other phase one priority groups – everyone aged over 50 and those at risk due to underlying health conditions – will have been offered a vaccine.

Vaccination will be offered to all other eligible adults in Wales by the autumn, Vaughan Gething said.

The latest figures show 86,039 people in Wales have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with 79 people receiving both doses.

“The Covid vaccines offer our best hope of a return to the normality we are looking forward to after such a difficult year, which has turned all our lives upside down,” Mr Gething said.

“Delivering this vaccination programme to the people in Wales is a huge task, but an enormous amount of work is going on to make it a success.

“We are making good progress with thousands more people being vaccinated every day.

“Over the coming week we will see the programme pick up further speed with more clinics opening and the first vaccines to be given by pharmacists.”

The Welsh Government said that in total, around 2.5 million people could be offered Covid-19 vaccines by September, depending on further advice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

A spokesman said the strategy depends on “sufficient and regular supplies” of the vaccines being delivered and will be kept under review in line with supply of the vaccine and JCVI advice.

Over the coming weeks, the number of mass vaccination centres in Wales will increase to 35 – with at least one in each county.

There is military support in mass vaccination centres, with 14 immunisers and 70 other personnel providing support.

In total, 100 GP practices will provide vaccine clinics by the end of this week.

The first pharmacies to provide the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will start vaccinating in North Wales in the next week.

There are 14 mobile units, run by community nurses, taking the vaccine to care homes.

People will also receive text messages to remind them of vaccination appointments.

A mass vaccination centre in Cardiff (Justin Tallis/PA)
A mass vaccination centre in Cardiff (Justin Tallis/PA)

Dr Gillian Richardson, who leads the Covid vaccination programme in Wales, said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme Wales has ever seen and the NHS is working incredibly hard to get the vaccine to as many people as possible, safely and as quickly as we can.

“People will be invited to come and have a vaccination at a clinic close to their home or at one of the mass vaccination centres.

“I know everyone is really keen to get their jab but please wait until you are contacted for your turn.

“Vaccination will give us a path out of this pandemic, but it will take us a little while to protect all the people in Wales who need it – this is why it’s so important everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their families from coronavirus.”

Public Health Wales will publish the number of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the country every week day.

The daily data accounts for the total number of vaccines given until 10pm the previous day, which have been recorded on the Covid-19 Welsh Immunisation System.

Actual figures will be higher due to ongoing data entry, the Welsh Government said.