Over one million people in Wales have received a COVID-19 booster vaccination this autumn.
Public Health Wales’s weekly data, published today, shows the number of people who have now received their booster reached 1,023,594 last week.
It has also been confirmed that all eligible people in Wales should by now have received an invitation for their latest booster vaccine. The Welsh Government has urged anyone who is eligible for a booster, but has not received an invitation, to check with their local health board.
This year’s autumn vaccine programme has been offered to the following priority groups:
- anyone aged 50 or over
- residents and staff in care homes for older people
- frontline health and care workers
- people aged between 5 and 49 who are in a clinical risk group, and their household contacts
- carers aged between 16 and 49
The roll-out of the booster programme began in September, and is running alongside the annual flu vaccination programme, to help boost the immunity of those at higher risk against severe illness and to protect the NHS this winter.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan welcomed the success of the autumn booster programme, saying: “Every autumn and winter, as temperatures drop, more people become ill and more need care from our NHS.
“COVID-19 has put tremendous additional pressure on the NHS over the last two years, but thanks to everyone involved in the vaccine programme, we expect far fewer cases this year.
“But we are not fully immune to the virus and we must keep our defences up. COVID-19 and flu remain a threat, especially to older people and people with other health conditions.
“If you’re eligible to get a vaccine this autumn, please take up the offer, to protect yourself, your loved ones and our communities.”
Dr Frank Atherton, the Chief Medical Officer, said: “It’s important to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away. Vaccination is still important for those in priority groups and remains our best form of defence against the virus.
“Everyone who is eligible to receive a booster vaccine – if you’re over 50, if you have a listed health conditions or live with someone who does, or if you’re a carer – you are among those who should have received an invitation for a booster vaccine.
“Please keep your appointment if you have one. If you haven’t received an invitation, but think you’re eligible, please contact your local health board or check their website for details of walk-in appointments.”
Dr Christopher Johnson, Interim Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme for Public Health Wales, said: “It is promising to see that so many people have come forward to have their COVID-19 booster vaccine.
“They will not only be protecting themselves, they will also be making a significant contribution to protecting our communities.
“It is vital that people take up the offer of their COVID-19 booster and their annual flu vaccine when they receive their invitation, so that we can continue to protect the NHS this winter.”