Health minister concerned over low uptake of covid autumn booster in some priority groups
Almost 580,000 covid boosters have been given in Wales this autumn, however there is concern about the uptake among some groups.
Invitations have been sent out since August to all those who are eligible for their fourth and in some cases fifth dose of the vaccine.
Those who are being encouraged to take up the booster include health care workers, care home staff and residents, the over 50s and people with underlying health conditions.
Data released by Public Health Wales shows that by the week ending 19 October, 579,721 individuals had received an autumn booster.
Of those 130,775 are in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area – which is the highest in Wales
Public Health Wales figures show that so far this autumn 50.8 percent of severely immunosuppressed individuals have been boosted, 74.5 per cent of care home residents, 29.5 per cent of staff working in care homes and 40 per cent of health care staff have received the autumn jab.
Overall 53.5 per cent of all adult aged 65 and over, 20.4 per cent of adults aged between 50 and 64 years and just 7.2 per cent of those aged five to 49 in clinical risk groups have received their booster.
Earlier this week in the Senedd Ynys Môn MS, Rhun ap Iorwerth, questioned Health Minister Eluned Morgan on why the booster uptake is “lower than it has been, particularly among the immunosuppressed.”
He added: “I wonder whether the Minister could look into or give a commitment to look into why the uptake seems to be so much lower this autumn.”
The health minister acknowledged the lower uptake in the clinical risk groups and said that the focus was currently on care home residents.
She said: “We have a target of 75 per cent. I’m pleased to say that, if you’re in a care home, we’re up to 74 per cent already. So, that is well on the way to our target.
“We are somewhat concerned about staff working in care homes and staff working in the health boards, so I know that the chief executive of the NHS has written to the health boards to ask them to make a little bit more effort with the staff.
“I know that they’re tired and that they’re making a big effort, and maybe it’s work pressure that’s stopped them from doing that, but it is important for them to protect themselves as we go into what we know will be a very hard winter.
“You’re right about the risk group: so, we are looking at about 7 per cent of people between five and 49, but the focus hasn’t been placed on that yet; we’re doing it in order of priority, and that’s why we’ve ensured that we are focusing first on care homes.
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