By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

Everyone aged 50 and over will be offered a Covid booster jab during the next phase of the vaccination programme starting in the autumn.

The Welsh Government has confirmed it will follow the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises all UK governments.

Originally only those aged 65 and older were going to be offered a booster but due to the rise in cases this summer caused by subtypes of the Omicron variant, the guidance has been amended.

In addition to adults aged 50 and over, a single dose will be offered to care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care workers and people aged 5 – 49 in a clinical risk group.

A booster jab will also be offered to people aged 5 – 49 who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression, as well as carers aged 16 – 49.

These groups will also be eligible for the flu vaccine and to help try and maximise uptake, people may be offered both jabs at the same appointment, where possible.

As part of the updated strategy, all Covid vaccines will be offered to eligible individuals by the end of November and all flu vaccines will be offered by the end of December.

We know people are more at risk from respiratory conditions during the winter months so I’m pleased this guidance has been published in good time to provide clarity and reassurance.

Further details will be announced in due course but in the meantime, I urge constituents to exercise caution as cases have risen considerably in recent weeks.

The availability of free lateral flow tests has been extended until the end of July for people with symptoms and its vital people follow these simple steps to keep themselves safe – get vaccinated, wash your hands regularly, wear face coverings in crowded indoor settings and stay at home and limit your contact with others if you’re ill.

A large part of my week was spent at the Royal Welsh Show and it was lovely to be back after a three year absence. The four-day event held in Llanelwedd in mid Wales is the pinnacle event in the British agricultural calendar and I attended in my role as the Minister for Rural Affairs.

It was extremely hot, particularly at the beginning of the week, and organisers and owners did an excellent job protecting the animals from the heat. The show was a huge success and it highlights the very best of what Wales has to offer.