TWO FURTHER coronavirus booster vaccines will be offered to immunosuppressed and older people in Wales this year, the health minister has announced.

Eluned Morgan confirmed that booster doses will be offered to specific groups in the spring and autumn of this year.

This decision has been made in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) review of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Older people and those who are immunosuppressed could be offered an extra booster vaccine dose in the spring, and people at higher risk of severe Covid-19 would be offered a further dose in the autumn.

“Whilst there is high level of strong population immunity developed over the past two and a half years, the risk of severe Covid-19 continues to be disproportionately greater in those from older age groups, residents in care homes for older adults, and persons with certain underlying health conditions,” said Ms Morgan.

“There also still remains ongoing uncertainty regarding virus evolution, the durability and breadth of immunity, and the epidemiology of infection.

“Alongside my UK counterparts, I have accepted this advice, and subject to supply, NHS Wales stands ready to start operationalising this programme in 2023.

“As ever, I am extremely grateful to the NHS and everyone involved in the vaccination programme for their continued hard work.”

The JCVI has also recommended stopping the offering of the 2021 third booster dose, and the offer of a first course of vaccinations should be moved towards targeting vaccination campaigns to protect people at higher risk of Covid-19.

In practice, this means that Covid-19 vaccinations will only be offered to specific groups at certain points of the year, unless prescribed by a clinician.

The JCVI added that booster vaccines could be offered more widely in the case of a novel variant emerging which has “clinically significant biological differences” to the Omicron variant.