Health Minister: Significant wave of Omicron to hit Wales with a peak “around the end of January”
Wales’ health minister has said a significant wave of the Omicron variant of coronavirus is expected to hit Wales with a peak “around the end of January.”
In response, all adults in Wales will be offered a booster vaccination by the end of January.
Eluned Morgan said the booster jab rollout will be a “short, sharp burst of activity”, but warned that there may be some reductions to planned care after the NHS was told to prioritise vaccinations.
The early indications are that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than Delta, Boris Johnson has said.
The prime minister made the comment as he updated his ministers on the latest Covid situation during a cabinet meeting today.
Downing Street said however it is still unclear how severe the disease caused by Omicron is and what impact the vaccines have on the variant.
A total of 336 cases of Omicron have been identified as of Monday, four in Wales, 261 in England and 71 in Scotland.
During a press conference today, health minister, Eluned Morgan said “all the evidence we do have so far suggests that this is a fast-moving form of virus which will quickly overtake Delta as the dominant form.”
She said: “We are expecting a significant wave of Omicron to hit Wales.
“The modelling suggests that the peak will be around the end of January, which is why there is an urgency in terms of getting people’s vaccinations and their boosters done as soon as possible.”
“What we know is a small reduction in the effectiveness of the vaccine could have a significant impact on the NHS if we literally saw hundreds of thousands of people being affected by Omicron.” The health minister said.
“So it’s about the numbers of people who will be affected and it only takes a small change in the effectiveness of the vaccine, which we still don’t know for it to have a significant impact on our NHS.”
Ms Morgan added: “Please don’t miss your appointment because clearly, it throws the system out, we will find you another appointment but it may take a bit more time. Time is not on our side on this one.”
Early reports from South Africa seem to indicate the Omicron variant of coronavirus is much more contagious than previous variants while causing milder disease, though experts warn definitive data won’t be available for weeks.
You can watch the full press conference below:
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