Over-16s living with adults with weakened immune systems to be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine

Arrangements are now being made to invite over-16s, who live with adults who have weakened immune systems, for a covid-19 jab Credit: PA Images

People over the age of 16 living with adults with a weakened immune system are to be prioritised for coronavirus jabs in Wales.

Adults who are immunosuppressed have a weaker immune system to fight infections naturally and are more likely to have poorer outcomes after contracting coronavirus.

This includes those with blood cancer, HIV or those who are having immunosuppressive treatment.

Arrangements are being made to invite people aged over 16 who live with these individuals for vaccination, the Welsh Government has announced, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

It comes after the NHS in England announced a similar move last month.

There is growing evidence that the coronavirus vaccine may reduce the transmission of the virus, experts have said.

The JCVI has said that the vaccine may not be as effective in people who are immunosuppressed Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government has said that vaccinating household contacts will help limit the spread of the virus to immunosuppressed adults.

The JCVI does not currently advise vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed children.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of Covid-19 immunisation for the JCVI, said last month: "The vaccination programme has so far seen high vaccine uptake and very encouraging results on infection rates, hospitalisations and mortality.

"Yet we know that the vaccine isn't as effective in those who are immunosuppressed.

"Our latest advice will help reduce the risk of infection in those who may not be able to fully benefit from being vaccinated themselves." 

Meanwhile, Swansea Bay University Health Board has sought to reassure people living in the area that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe, despite concerns over a potential link between the jab and rare blood clots.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is no longer being offered to people under the age of 30 in the UK after the emergence of the possible link.

However Dr Christopher Johns, a GP based in the health board area, said people should be confident to attend their vaccine session because "the chances of having a very, very rare side effect are very, very small."

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