A Welsh health board could become the first area of the UK to vaccinate all over-18s against Covid, having ‘arranged appointments’ for all adults.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said it has made first-dose appointments for all adults yet to receive the jab by the end of next week (30 May), with patients due to receive letters this week.
This is well ahead of the target for all UK adults to have been offered a first vaccine dose by the end of July, and comes as Wales as a whole has vaccinated a larger share of its population than any other country in the UK.
The BBC reported on Monday that Wales has a vaccination rate of 64.3%, compared to 55.3% in Scotland, 54.2% in England, and 52.6% in Northern Ireland.
In England, the eligibility for vaccination has only been lowered to 36-37-year-olds this week but a number of areas are getting extra vaccine doses to target younger people due to Covid spread.
The Scottish Government has extended eligibility to all over-18s in badly affected areas of Glasgow, while Blackburn with Darwen is vaccinating over-18s – under certain eligibility criteria – as part of its bid to curb the spread of the Indian Covid variant.
The area’s public health director Professor Dominic Harrison said this week that the council’s additional supply of supply of over 1,000 Pfizer doses per day for the next fortnight are now ‘for both high variant spread areas and all residents over 18’.
However, he added that this was subject to eligibility, with criteria including caring for vulnerable family members; being in a household or ‘extended family network’ with older or clinically vulnerable people; being clinically vulnerable; or having Covid in the family.
Last week, Professor Harrison had complained that the Government stopped him from rolling out vaccines to all over-18s.
Meanwhile, Bolton Council has restated that the lower age for eligibility is 36, amid widespread reports that over-18s may become eligible.
Meanwhile, GP-led vaccination sites across England have been told to bring forward second-dose appointments from 12 to eight weeks for all risk group patients who have yet to be fully vaccinated to make sure they are protected amid variant spread.