Young people aged between 12 and 15-years-old with underlying health conditions should be offered a coronavirus vaccine, new guidance from the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says.
Currently, vaccines are being offered to adults aged 18 and older, while 16 and 17-year-olds with underlying health conditions have also been offered vaccines.
The JCVI has also advised that those who are within three months of turning 18 should be offered a vaccine, to ensure a high uptake in newly-turned 18-year-olds.
The advice has been welcomed by Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan, who released a statement detailing the advice.
Mrs Morgan said Wales will “move quickly to vaccinate those turning 18-years-old, including those intending to go to university”.
However, the JCVI is not currently recommending the universal vaccination of under-18s due to the lower risk of the virus among children.
Meanwhile, as of Monday, July 19, fully-vaccinated adults and under-18s won’t need to self-isolate on their return from an amber-list country, except for France due to concerns over the Beta variant of the virus.
In August, the requirement for fully-vaccinated people to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus will be removed, but Mrs Morgan said there will be “additional safeguards” in place for people working in health and social care settings.
The Health Minister has also urged people who are eligible for a vaccine to take up the offer. She said: “One in four under 40s are yet to be vaccinated and that is where we are now seeing high levels of infections.
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“The success of the vaccination programme is a key factor in our ability to release restrictions and the vaccine continues to be the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of Covid-19.”
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for children and young people, Sian Gwenllian MS, urged the Welsh Government to follow the latest JCVI advice.
She said: “It’s right that steps are taken to reduce the likelihood of the virus running riot amongst our young people: They have already suffered deep harm from the effects of isolation and disrupted learning. We can’t allow the virus to spread freely, especially with emerging evidence about the impact of long-COVID on this age group.”
Ms Gwenllian called on the Health Minister to “provide reassurance that the decisions around vaccinating children are kept constantly under review” and to ensure protective measures, such as ventilation in schools, should be taken.
Who has been vaccinated so far?
The percentage of people in Wales who have received their first and second vaccine is broken down below:
Care home residents: 98.1% first dose; 94.9% second dose
Care home workers: 93.1% first dose; 88.6% second dose
Healthcare workers: 96.3% first dose; 93.2% second dose
Social care workers: 45,592 first dose; 44,672 second dose
Aged 80 and above: 96.1% first dose; 94.4% second dose
Aged 75-79: 96.9% first dose; 95.6% second dose
Aged 70-74: 96.2% first dose; 95.2% second dose
Clinically extremely vulnerable people aged 16-69 : 94.7% first dose; 91.9% second dose
Aged 65-69: 94.9% first dose; 93.4% second dose
Clinical risk groups aged 16 to 64: 89.5% first dose; 83.6% second dose
Aged 60-64: 93.2% first dose; 91.2% second dose
Aged 55-59: 91.4% first dose; 88.7% second dose
Aged 50-54: 89.4% first dose; 85.8% second dose
Aged 40-49: 84% first dose; 74.8% second dose
Aged 30-39: 75.7% first dose; 55% second dose
Aged 18-29: 73.8% first dose; 35% second dose
Source: Public Health Wales
Anyone who is still waiting for a vaccine appointment can book one online at gov.wales/get-your-covid-19-vaccination-if-you-think-you-have-been-missed
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