Wales will begin administering second doses of the Covid vaccine from Monday (15 February) – 10 weeks after the first patients were given the initial jab, the Welsh Government has said.
This is in a bid to ensure patients receive their second dose within the 12-week window prescribed, a Government spokesperson told Pulse.
It comes as NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said patients due their booster dose in England will be prioritised for existing supply within 12 weeks, meaning by early March for initial recipients.
A Welsh Government spokesperson told Pulse: ‘A significant number of second doses of the vaccine are scheduled from 15 February. People will be called for their second dose in the order they were vaccinated.
‘This may mean some people get their second dose slightly earlier than planned and ensures everyone receives their second dose within 12 weeks.’
UK Government figures show that Wales has delivered 3,800 second-dose vaccinations since the start of the programme – significantly fewer than any of the four nations – but has administered 684,000 first doses so far.
Chief medical officer advice on Covid vaccinations changed on 31 December to say all second doses should be given after 12 weeks instead of three weeks, to maximise the number of people that will be protected in the shortest possible time frame.
Researchers recently gave support for the UK’s delay of the second dose to 12 weeks, after suggesting that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is 90% effective from 21 days after vaccination.
GPs in England have been told to start inviting patients in JCVI priority cohort 6 – under-65s with underlying health conditions – from Monday.