Around 9,500 individuals across Wales have been wrongly informed that they were eligible for a spring Covid-19 booster jab, but will still be able to receive it.

Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, said that on May 16, health boards identified a potential discrepancy between the eligibility criteria determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and those presenting for vaccination.

Her officials became aware of this on May 17 and have worked with the NHS Delivery Unit, health boards, Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) and Public Health Wales to investigate the issue further.

READ MORE: Public Health Wales issues statement on UK monkeypox cases

She said the reason for the confusion was that the eligibility criteria for the immunosuppressed group are broader for the spring booster campaign than in previous campaigns.

To ensure all individuals meeting the broader criteria are offered a spring booster it was necessary to create a new cohort within the Welsh Immunisation System (WIS), which is the system used by the NHS to manage and record the vaccinations offered and administered to these individuals.

The investigation concluded that in creating the new broader immunosuppressed cohort in WIS, approximately 9,500 people have been incorrectly included as being eligible for a spring booster.

READ MORE: More than 50 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in latest statistics for Wales

Those who were incorrectly included are at a high-risk of developing severe illness if they get Covid-19 and some will already have been eligible for a spring booster because they meet other eligibility criteria, for example, they may be over 75 or resident in a care home for older people.

However, they were incorrectly included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group of people who are eligible for antiviral and antibody treatment if they get Covid-19.

They will still benefit from the booster, with some having already received it, and the offer still stands for those who are waiting for one.

Eluned Morgan MS explained: “Having carefully considered the options available and the clinical and ethical advice I have received, I have decided to honour the offer of an additional vaccination to all those who have been incorrectly identified as eligible for a spring booster vaccination. In doing so I want to be clear that this does not represent a decision to extend our programme beyond the eligibility criteria advised by the JCVI.”

She explained that there is a sufficient supply of vaccine in Wales to provide additional appointments and booster vaccines and it’s not expected that this decision to have any impact on eligibility for vaccination in the autumn.

Rhyl Journal: Eluned Morgan MSEluned Morgan MS

She added: “In deciding to honour the offer, I have carefully considered the benefits and risks and the potential confusion and anxiety which would be caused by withdrawing the offer at this stage. Taking up an offer of vaccination is a choice, and those people in this group who have not yet been vaccinated will have a choice about whether to accept or decline the vaccine, supported by advice from clinicians in our vaccination centres.

“We will make sure all individuals affected are aware of the situation and we will apologise for the error. They will be assured about the benefits of receiving an additional vaccination if they have already received it and additional advice, to support their decision making, if they have not yet received it.

“A lessons learned exercise has also been started to ensure any learning from this incident can be fed back into the planning and management of future phases of, what continues to be, our excellent vaccination programme.”