Children aged 12 to 15 to be offered covid-19 vaccine and over 50s will get booster jab

Covid-19 vaccinations will be offered to all children aged between 12 and 15, the Welsh Government has announced.

Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services, told a Welsh Government briefing she had accepted the advice of the UK's chief medical officers to offer jabs to children.

  • Watch Health Minister Eluned Morgan MS lead the Welsh Government news conference

She said the Welsh Government would now begin the preparations to invite those eligible to have a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"You will remember last week the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation considered the question of vaccinating all 12 to 15-year-olds and advised against a universal vaccination programme," she told the Welsh Government briefing.

"However, it did recommend the chief medical officers should look at the wider health and wellbeing benefits of vaccination for this age group.

"After careful consideration, the chief medical officers have recommended offering children and teenagers in this age group the vaccination based on public health grounds, saying it will help to reduce the disruption to their education."

"Today I have accepted this advice and we will now begin preparations to invite 12 to 15-year-olds who have not yet been vaccinated to have a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"And that rollout will start next week."

One Year 11 pupil hopes that the vaccine will reduce the need for isolation, whilst another said it should help us get back to normality.

However one 15-year-old student explained, "I do have some concerns, for example we don't know the long term effects".

Baroness Morgan said the jabs for children would be carried out at mass vaccination centres and some school settings.

"It will be up to the health boards working with the local authorities to determine how that will happen," she told reporters.

"What we are clear about is that those invitations will go out this week and we will start vaccinating next week."

She said parents were likely to accompany their children to vaccination centres, where they would be given information about the vaccine.

"Then it will obviously be up to the parents and the children together to determine whether they want to receive the vaccine," she said.

"The vaccine is not mandatory, and people can choose whether to have the vaccine or not.

"There will be appropriate information made available for children and young people and their parents to make up their minds about vaccination.

"Parents or guardians will be asked to give consent. I encourage parents, guardians, children and young people to discuss together whether or not to have the vaccination."

For over 50s, the Pfizer jab is recommended, regardless of which vaccine people had previously.

Ms Morgan said an autumn booster campaign would also be carried out for those living and working in care homes, as well as frontline health and social care staff, who will be the first to be offered a third jab.

"We will then offer it to everyone over 50, all frontline health and social care staff and all those with underlying health conditions - just as we did with the first two doses of the vaccine," she said.

"Vaccination has made a real difference to the course of this pandemic - it has prevented many thousands of people falling seriously ill and it has prevented many, many deaths in this Delta wave.

"We have very high rates of vaccination in Wales - thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in our fantastic programme - but there are many people who could be vaccinated who have not yet had a vaccine.

"We are particularly worried about pregnant women who haven't been vaccinated and would urge them to speak to their midwife about having the vaccine."