FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford has addressed Wales on the Covid situation – including a rise in the omicron variant.
His short announcement was aired on BBC and on social media earlier – here’s a summary of what ppeople should know:
What was the announcement?
Welsh Government plans to have offered all eligible adults in Wales their booster jab before the end of the year “if possible”.
What is an eligible adult?
An eligible adult is anyone aged 18+ who has had their second dose of the Covid vaccine three months or more ago. As there must be three months between a person’s second Covid vaccine and a booster, anyone who’s had their second jab within the last three months will not currently be eligible for a booster.
Why has Welsh Government announced this target?
According to Mark Drakeford: “By the end of the month, omicron [variant] will have become the dominant form of the virus in Wales, bringing a new wave of infections and illness.”
Evidence has suggested that “two doses of the vaccine is simply not enough to give the level of protection against the infection we all need”.
What action has been taken to speed the roll-out of the booster programme in Wales?
New clinics have been opened and operating hours extended.
Mr Drakeford said:” Urgent efforts are now underway to accelerate the programme even further so we can offer all eligible adults an appointment by the end of this year if possible.”
What did Mark Drakeford say?
“We must be prepared for omicron cases to rise quickly and very steeply – just as they have in other parts of the UK.
“We are still learning about this new form of coronavirus. All the information we have tells us we are facing a very serious situation. By the end of the month, omicron will have become the dominant form of the virus in Wales, bringing a new wave of infections and illness.
“This could then translate into a large number of people needing hospital treatment just at a time when the NHS is already under significant pressure. The Welsh Government will do everything we can to protect people’s health and keep Wales safe.
“New evidence has emerged about the effectiveness of our vaccines against omicron. Two doses of the vaccine is simply not enough to give the level of protection against the infection we all need.
“We have already increased the speed of the roll-out of our booster programme. New clinics have been opened and operating hours extended. Urgent efforts are now underway to accelerate the programme even further so we can offer all eligible adults an appointment by the end of this year if possible.
“Please make getting a booster a priority, as it is the single most important things you can do to protect yourself against coronavirus and this new variant.
“None of us wanted to hear the news of a new omicron variant. After almost two long years of the pandemic, we had all hoped that we could put coronavirus behind us this Christmas.
“Unfortunately, we are once again facing a serious and worsening situation. But we have faced challenges many times during this pandemic.
“We can once again pull together to look out for each other – for friends, family, and neighbours – to protect each other and keep ourselves safe and well.
“We have already taken some steps to increase protections in Wales and we may need to take some further steps to keep Wales safe.”