THE Welsh Government has accepted new scientific advice and expanded the coronavirus vaccination programme ahead of the winter.
The UK-wide JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) has issued new recommendations regarding third doses, or booster jabs, for some adults; as well as second doses for some younger people.
Here’s what’s changed in Wales as a result of the new JCVI recommendations:
Third doses are now being extended to any adults aged 40 or older, regardless of whether or not they are in an ‘at-risk’ group.
These booster jabs were previously only given to over-50s, as well as to younger adults who are considered clinically vulnerable because of an underlying medical condition.
People in their 40s will be invited for a booster jab six months or more after they received their second vaccine dose.
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No decision has been made today on booster jabs for younger adults, but the JCVI will continue to collect evidence on waning vaccine immunity in people aged 18-39. If the evidence supports third doses for people in those younger age groups, then the JCVI will make another announcement.
Wales’ health minister Eluned Morgan said today that “most younger adults will have received their second dose in late summer or early autumn”, meaning they will “still have a high level of protection” against coronavirus.
Vaccines for teenagers
Wales will also begin offering second vaccine doses to people aged 16 and 17 who are not in an ‘at-risk’ group.
That second dose should be given 12 weeks after the first jab, the JCVI said, and for any young people who have been infected with Covid-19 since receiving their first dose, the second jab should be given at least 12 weeks after they were infected.
Ms Morgan said the JCVI found that a second dose offered “more durable protection against Covid-19 and further reduced the risk of infection and serious illness”.
This was “balanced against data showing the rare incidence of adverse events following vaccination in young people”.
The health minister said the Welsh Governemnt would now work with the NHS on both new recommendations before the new vaccine policies are implemented in Wales.