All adults in Wales to be offered coronavirus vaccine by end of July, health minister pledges

All adults in Wales will be offered the coronavirus vaccine by the end of July, the Health Minister has confirmed.

The Welsh Government plan to vaccinate everyone in the top nine priority groups by mid-April, leaving around three months to vaccinate all other adults.

The announcement today reveals a more ambitious approach as previously the aim was to vaccinate the first nine groups by the end of April.

The top nine groups include those aged over 50, everyone over the age of 16 with an underlying health condition, "which puts them at risk of serious illness" and unpaid carers who look after someone who is vulnerable to Covid-19.

All adults will be offered a coronavirus vaccine by the end of July Credit: PA Images

Latest figures show more than 878,000 people in Wales have had their first vaccine dose, accounting for 28% of Wales’ population and more than a third of adults in the country. Wales was the first UK nation to vaccinate all four of its top priority groups.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Vaughan Gething said: "I can today confirm that we will offer the vaccine to all eligible adults in Wales by 31 July, as long as the supply matches our ambition."

He added that he is "confident" in the ability to deliver that volume of jabs "if supply lines are there".

The end of July target matches that made by the UK Prime Minister for vaccinations in England.

The Health Minister encouraged everyone to take-up the offer of a vaccine when they receive it, describing Wales’ vaccination and testing programmes as the “beacon of hope that will help to guide us out of lockdown”.

An update to the national vaccination strategy, with more details, will be published by Welsh Government on Friday. This will also respond to an update in Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.

Today the JCVI said all those on the GP Learning Disability Register should be added to priority group six after analysis found they were at higher risk of death and serious illness from Covid-19. 

Mr Gething said this change in advice was good news and Welsh Government are looking at GP registers to check this covers "all the people we'd want to see covered".

8789,506 people have now received the first dose of the Covid vaccine Credit: PA Images

Mr Gething also set out plans for an expansion to asymptomatic testing in the community and for people who cannot work from home.

Workplaces with more than 50 employees will now be eligible for support to regularly test their workforce, helping reduce the spread of the virus.

Mr Gething said this would focus on extending testing to "staff working in childcare settings, schools and further education colleges."

The youngest children started returning to school for face-to-face learning at the start of this week.

From next week, targeted community testing will begin in parts of Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf to help find those who show no symptoms of Covid.

Coronavirus case levels are currently at their lowest level since the end of September as there are now 76 cases per 100,000 people across the country.

A further 13 Covid-deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours while another 236 positive cases of the virus have been confirmed.

  • Watch: Wednesday's full Welsh Government press conference