Coronavirus vaccines for 12-15 year olds and booster jabs for over 50s given the go ahead in Wales
Coronavirus vaccines for 12-15 year olds in Wales have been given the go ahead, the health minister confirmed today.
The rollout for both children and booster jabs will begin next week.
The announcement was made at a press conference this afternoon.
In a statement Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “After careful consideration, on public health grounds, the UK CMOs recommend that all children and young people aged 12-15 not already covered by existing JCVI advice should be offered a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“The UK CMOs have decided that the additional likely benefits of reducing educational disruption and the resulting reduction in public health harm provide enough extra advantage to recommend in favour of vaccinating this group. In addition, there is a small advantage at an individual level as already identified by the JCVI.
“In line with the other nations of the UK, I thank the CMO for the advice and agree with their recommendations. Our NHS will work in the next couple of weeks to begin offering a dose of vaccine to all children and young people aged 12-15.
“We have a blended model of offering the vaccine with all health boards primarily inviting this age group to vaccination centres with some areas going through schools.
“The strength of this model is that it is based on local knowledge and it is flexible and agile so it can change depending on the circumstances.
“The vaccine is not mandatory and people can choose whether to have the vaccine or not. There will be appropriate information made available for children and young people and their parents to make up their minds about vaccination.
“Parents or guardians will be asked to give consent. I encourage parents, guardians, children and young people to discuss together whether or not to have the vaccination.”
Those over the age of 50, along with healthcare staff and care home workers and residents will also be offered a booster dose of either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine – irrespective of which vaccine was given as a primary dose.
The third vaccine should be offered with a minimum 6-month interval after the 2nd dose.
Booster vaccines will be offered in the same way at the first two vaccines – with rollout expected to begin in Wales next week for NHS workers and care home staff and residents.
The single priority group lists:
Those living in residential care homes for older adults
All adults aged 50 years or over
Frontline health and social care workers
All those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the Green Book), and adult carers
Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
Ms Morgan said: “As most younger adults will only receive their second COVID-19 vaccine dose in late summer, the benefits of booster vaccination in this group will be considered at a later time, by the JCVI, when more information is available.
“There may be opportunities to offer for the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine to be co-administered, but this is only where timing and logistics allow.
“We have been planning for an autumn booster with health boards over the summer months. I am confident our NHS is ready to deliver this and we will start next week by offering a Booster vaccine to people living and working in care homes and frontline health and social care staff.
“It is important that those eligible under the JCVI advice receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, when they are called for an appointment, as there is the possibility of reduced immunity of their previous doses over time.
“The vaccine continues to be the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of COVID-19 and every eligible adult is urged to take-up both doses when asked and a booster dose, if eligible.”
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