Covid-19: Where and when can I get my booster vaccine in Wales?

Every adult in Wales will be offered a booster jab by the end of December amid a huge vaccination drive orchestrated by the NHS.

Health minister Eluned Morgan outlined the call-to-arms plan on Tuesday (December 14) - which will see staff asked to cancel annual leave and redeployed to vaccine centres.

It comes in response to the emergence of the highly transmissable Omicron variant, which is expected to become the UK's dominant strain in the UK by mid-December.But who can get the third vaccine dose and how? Here's everything you need to know about where and when you can get a booster vaccine in Wales.

Who is eligible for a booster jab?

The JCVI advised last month that the booster vaccination eligibility should be expanded to include all adults over aged 18. 

They also advised that people should be offered a booster vaccine at least three months after the second dose, rather than six months as was previously advised.

So, if you are over 18 and received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine over three months ago, you are eligible for the booster vaccine.

When can I have my booster vaccine?

Booster vaccinations are being be offered by age groups. Priority will be given to vaccinating older adults and those in a Covid-19 at-risk group.

Eligible frontline health and social care workers, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying health conditions and unpaid carers will also being prioritised first for a booster vaccine. 

However, following a sharp rise in Omicron cases, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that all over 18s will be offered a booster vaccine by the end of the year.

Health boards are urging people to wait to be invited for their vaccines and not to contact their GP to ask about appointments. They will contact you directly when it's your turn.

Health boards will continue to call people forward in order of risk.

Those who have already been given a booster appointment should attend on the date and time given.

People can also be expected to be offered walk-in slots at one of the newly-extended vaccine clinics.

Your local health board will contact you to arrange your booster vaccine appointment

I've had two doses of the vaccine, why do I need a booster?

Booster vaccines are being offered to optimise individual protection ahead of a potential wave of infection and also to reduce the impact of the fast spreading Omicron variant.

Preliminary studies indicate both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines may provide much lower levels of protection against symptomatic infection compared to the protection they provide against the delta variant.

Public Health Wales officials have warned that "two doses of the vaccine is not enough to protect us against Omicron."

Which vaccine will I be given?

The JCVI has recommended that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine should be given for the booster programme. This is irrespective of which vaccine you received the first time around.

Data shows that both of these vaccines are well tolerated as a booster dose and will provide a strong immune response.

Where can I get my booster jab?

Your health board will be in touch to let you know where you need to go to get your booster vaccine.

Currently, you can't turn up to a vaccination centre without an appointment, but keep an eye on your local health board's social media accounts or their website for any walk in updates.

The Welsh Government has confirmed that they've been working with the health boards to speed up the booster vaccination process.

The focus of the NHS will shift to focus on distributing the booster vaccine, with all available clinical staff being redeployed to vaccination centres.

Many centres will be extended to include walk-in lanes.

Previously, one GP surgery in north Wales offered a walk in session for anyone eligible and administered nearly 4,000 vaccines.

Dr Eilir Hughes from Tŷ Doctor in Nefyn said: "Nearly 4,000 people walked through our GP practice this weekend to have their vaccine.

"Most were boosters, but many youngsters getting their second dose and there were a few first doses given as well. "Yes, we’re pretty tired, but also buzzing by people’s appreciation!"