Extension of Covid booster campaign will see a “real call to arms” for vaccinators to come forward
The extension of the coronavirus booster campaign will see a “real call to arms” for vaccinators to come forward, Wales’ deputy chief medical officer has said.
Yesterday it was announced that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that all those aged 18 to 39 should be offered a booster dose.
The gap the booster jab can be offered has also been shortened to three months.
However priority will still be given to older adults and those at risk.
As part of yesterday’s announcement it was confirmed that 12 to 15 years should be offered a second dose at a minimum of 12 weeks from the first dose and that those who are severely immunosuppressed are offered a fourth vaccine as a booster.
Speaking at a Welsh Government press conference this afternoon Dr Gill Richardson, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Vaccines said there were plans to increase capacity for boosters, with options such as drive thru vaccine facilities and working with primary care practitioners to expand the rollout further.
Dr Richardson said: “Expanding the vaccine program will be challenging, it will mean increasing the speed of the rollout and increasing the workforce to ensure we can offer boosters and second vaccines to everyone who is eligible.
“We have the supply of the vaccine and we are working with the NHS at speed to put plans in place this week.
“We are looking at creating more capacity in clinics using drive thru models, working with primary care colleagues wherever we can and with other public service staff, who are trained vaccinators to make sure that we can protect as many people as possible.
“It is never too late to be vaccinated and I would particularly urge everyone to come forward for a vaccine that has not yet had one or two doses.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve already had COVID-19 infection as the vaccine will give you longer lasting protection against the virus.
“Especially as it looks like there is a higher risk of reinfection with the new Omicron variant.”
Health Minister Eluned Morgan and Dr Richardson were also asked about the existing pressures on the NHS and what support will they be given in expanding the booster rollout.
Dr Richardson said there was a “real call to arms” needed for people to come forward and help with the booster jab expansion.
She said: “That will probably include volunteers, it will almost definitely include third sector organisations that helped us previously.
“We had tremendous help from our other emergency services last time and we’ll be looking at additional capacity for bank staff, we will be looking at students assisting in clinics.
“There are other roles that are not actually vaccinators, roles to do with administration, roles to do with looking after people once they’ve had their vaccines. We will be having a real push.
“In fact we had a workforce summit just on this issue last week in recognition that we are going to need to increase our workforce for the campaign.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan added: “This is going to be a huge mobilisation campaign, everybody will put their shoulder to the wheel.
“There’s an understanding that this will be something that will try and get done as soon as possible before we reach that possible wave that may hit us.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com