Posted: Mon 23rd May 2022

Around 9,500 people in Wales wrongly offered covid-19 spring booster jab

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, May 23rd, 2022

Thousands of people have wrongly been offered a covid-19 spring booster jab.

Guidance issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that care home residents, the over 75s and those of aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed, were invited to have the vaccine.

However on 16 May, health boards identified what has been described as a “potential discrepancy” between the eligibility criteria determined by the JCVI and those presenting for vaccination.

An investigation carried out by the Welsh Government along with the NHS Delivery Unit, health boards, Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) and Public Health Wales to investigate, has found that a group of people were identified incorrectly as being eligible for the additional jab.

It is estimated that approximately 9,500 people have been wrongly included as being eligible for a spring booster.

All those who have been incorrectly identified have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group of people who are eligible for antiviral and antibody treatment if they get Covid-19.

In a statement Health Minister Eluned Morgan said that the error can be “attributed to differences in the criteria for vaccination and treatment.”

The minister said: “During the course of the spring booster campaign, a group of people have been identified incorrectly as being eligible for an additional vaccination. This means that more people than the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) initially intended to be eligible for the booster have either received, been invited or are due to receive an invite for vaccination.

“The reason for the confusion was because the eligibility criteria for the immunosuppressed group are broader for the spring booster campaign than in previous campaigns.

“All those who have been incorrectly identified have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group of people who are eligible for antiviral and antibody treatment if they get Covid-19.

“This error can be attributed to differences in the criteria for vaccination and treatment.

“It is important to note that all these individuals are at high-risk of developing severe illness if they get Covid-19 and some will already have been eligible for a spring booster because they meet other eligibility criteria, for example they may be over 75 or resident in a care home for older people.”

However it has been agreed that the Welsh Government will honour the offer of an additional vaccination to those who have been incorrectly identified as being eligible for a spring booster.

The health minister continued onto say: “In doing so I want to be clear that this does not represent a decision to extend our programme beyond the eligibility criteria advised by the JCVI.

W”e have sufficient supply of vaccine in Wales to provide additional appointments and booster vaccines and we do not expect this decision to have any impact on eligibility for vaccination in the autumn.

“The group of individuals affected are among those at higher risk of severe illness if they get Covid-19 and are therefore likely to benefit from a booster vaccination. Of course, like any treatment, vaccination can carry a small risk of adverse events, however side effects are usually mild and self-limiting.

“In deciding to honour the offer, I have carefully considered the benefits and risks and the potential confusion and anxiety which would be caused by withdrawing the offer at this stage.

“Taking up an offer of vaccination is a choice, and those people in this group who have not yet been vaccinated will have a choice about whether to accept or decline the vaccine, supported by advice from clinicians in our vaccination centres.

“We will make sure all individuals affected are aware of the situation and we will apologise for the error. They will be assured about the benefits of receiving an additional vaccination if they have already received it and additional advice, to support their decision making, if they have not yet received it.

“A lessons learned exercise has also been started to ensure any learning from this incident can be fed back into the planning and management of future phases of, what continues to be, our excellent vaccination programme.”

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