The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has welcomed the news that a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready this year but has warned “that these are very early days”.
Dr Frank Atherton said it could be towards the end next year before a vaccine was rolled out fully to all the eligible population and in the meantime it is essential that everyone continues to observe social distancing, limit meeting in indoor spaces, wear face coverings where appropriate and practice good hand and cough hygiene.
“This is an important step and a remarkable scientific achievement. But full safety data is needed before the vaccine is approved for use,” he said.
“We have well-developed plans to roll out any approved vaccine across priority groups in Wales, but in the meantime, we all need to continue doing everything we can to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Limiting indoor visits, keeping our social distance, and wearing a face covering where needed as well as regular hand washing are vital actions if we are to suppress the spread of the virus in Wales. Continue to ‘stay safe’ and protect yourself and others.”
The Welsh Government has been working closely with the UK Government and other devolved nations on preparing for vaccines in development.
Dr Atherton said: “Planning for the delivery of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in Wales is well underway. Including organising the logistics for transporting the vaccine, identifying suitable venues for vaccinations to take place, and ensuring that healthcare professionals are available and trained to administer the vaccines.
Health and social care workers, care home residents and staff have been prioritised to receive a vaccine first, with roll out to older people in age bands from next year.
But it’s likely to be a long time until the whole population has been vaccinated, so until then we should all be doing whatever we can to stop the spread of the virus.