Disabled people ‘quite worried’ by decision to end COVID vaccines

Ending the universal availability of COVID vaccines is “quite worrying” for disabled and immunocompromised people, says Disability Wales.

The first vaccine and booster will no longer be offered as of June 30 and the 3rd vaccine (or second booster) will stop being offered on March 31, the Welsh Government has stated.

This means children and adults between the ages of 5 to 49 who haven’t had the primary course or booster dose have up until those dates to do so.

The decision is causing concern for some vulnerable people.

Alex Osborne who works for Disability Wales, has Multiple Sclerosis and is immunocompromised says she is concerned because the decision means she will meet more people who could have the virus.

“We are quite worried at Disability Wales that by stopping the boosters and everything, it’s just going to mean that more disabled people feel stuck in their homes because they don’t feel safe to go out and mix with people that might not have their boosters,” she said.

Loneliness is a crucial consideration for these people. Disabled people were four times more likely than non-disabled people “to often or always” experience feeling lonely, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data from 2018.

Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, urges people who are eligible to come forward before the universal offers for the vaccines end.

She said ” This does not signal a closure of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, we expect COVID­-19 vaccination to continue to be a feature of our vaccination programme in Wales.

“People who develop a new health condition that places them in a clinical risk group, who haven’t yet had their primary course and/or booster dose, will still be able to be vaccinated during the next campaign window or sooner on the advice of a clinician.

“The vaccine continues to be the best way to prevent serious illness and the spread of COVID-19.”