Skip to main content

Eligibility for the vaccine

All adults in Wales are now eligible. Anyone who has not been invited for their vaccine can contact their health board for an appointment.

Please click the appropriate health board link below: 
https://gov.wales/get-your-covid-19-vaccination-if-you-think-you-have-been-missed

The vaccine is being offered to those who are most at risk first. Eventually every person age 18 and over will be offered the vaccine.

The groups to be prioritised to receive a COVID-19 vaccine first are advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) at a UK level. This is based on evidence around who is most at risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. Full details available here.

The JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of deaths and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of death from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Phase 1

This priority list is as follows: 

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers 
  3. all those 75 years of age and over 
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals 
  5. all those 65 years of age and over 
  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality (see table 3 below) *please see table below for further detail on carers*
  7. all those 60 years of age and over 
  8. all those 55 years of age and over 
  9. all those 50 years of age and over 

It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable deaths from COVID-19. 

JCVI advises that an age-based programme will likely result in faster delivery and better uptake in those at the highest risk.

Phase 2

After groups 1 to 9 in Phase 1, people aged 40 to 49 years are at highest risk of hospitalisation, with the risk reducing the younger you are.

Prioritisation will therefore continue in the following order, once all at-risk groups in Phase 1 have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine:

  1. all those aged 40 to 49 years
  2. all those aged 30 to 39 years
  3. all those aged 18 to 29 years.

Unpaid carers:
Unpaid carers who may not be registered as an unpaid carer with their GP are being asked to come forward by completing a new online self-referral form in order to receive their Covid-19 vaccine as part of priority group 6. More information here:
https://gov.wales/get-covid-19-vaccine-unpaid-carer

Table 3 Clinical risk groups 16 years of age and over who should receive COVID-19 immunisation.

Chronic respiratory disease

Individuals with a severe lung condition, including those with asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema; bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

Chronic heart disease and vascular disease

Congenital heart disease, hypertension with cardiac complications, chronic heart failure, individuals requiring regular medication and/or follow-up for ischaemic heart disease. This includes individuals with atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease or a history of venous thromboembolism.

Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, chronic kidney failure, nephrotic syndrome, kidney transplantation.

Chronic liver disease

Cirrhosis, biliary atresia, chronic hepatitis.

Chronic neurological disease

Stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA). Conditions in which respiratory function may be compromised due to neurological disease (e.g. polio syndrome sufferers). This includes individuals with cerebral palsy, severe or profound learning disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and related or similar conditions; or hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles; or severe neurological disability.

Diabetes mellitus

Any diabetes, including diet-controlled diabetes.

Immunosuppression

Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression, patients undergoing radical radiotherapy, solid organ transplant recipients, bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients, HIV infection at all stages, multiple myeloma or genetic disorders affecting the immune system (e.g. IRAK-4, NEMO, complement disorder, SCID). Individuals who are receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulating biological therapy including, but not limited to, anti-TNF, alemtuzumab, ofatumumab, rituximab, patients receiving protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors, and individuals treated with steroid sparing agents such as cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil. Individuals treated with or likely to be treated with systemic steroids for more than a month at a dose equivalent to prednisolone at 20mg or more per day for adults. Anyone with a history of haematological malignancy, including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma and those with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments. Most of the more severely immunosuppressed individuals in this group should already be flagged as CEV. Individuals who are not yet on the CEV list but who are about to receive highly immunosuppressive interventions or those whose level of immunosuppression is about to increase may be therefore be offered vaccine alongside the CEV group, if therapy can be safely delayed or there is sufficient time (ideally two weeks) before therapy commences. Some immunosuppressed patients may have a suboptimal im

Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen

This also includes conditions that may lead to splenic dysfunction, such as homozygous sickle cell disease, thalassemia major and coeliac syndrome.

Morbid obesity

Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥40 kg/m²

Severe mental illness

Individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment.

Adult carers

Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.1

Younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings

Many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for vaccination because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups above (for example learning disabilities). Given the likely high risk of exposure in these settings, where a high proportion of the population would be considered eligible, vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended. Younger residents in care homes for the elderly will be at high risk of exposure, and although they may be at lower risk of mortality than older residents should not be excluded from vaccination programmes (see priority 1 above). For consideration of children under 16 see below.

Other risk groups

Adult household contacts of people with immunosuppression Individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days (and
therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable) with
individuals who are immunosuppressed (defined as above).
Adult carers  Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole
or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of
COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Source: The Green Book chapter 14a
1 Those clinically vulnerable to COVID include children with severe neuro-disabilities, those who are designated Clinically Extremely vulnerable (CEV), adults who have underlying health conditions (as defined in table 3), and those who need care because of advanced age. Eligible carers should be vaccinated in priority group 6.

Children and young people have a very low risk of COVID-19, severe disease or death due to SARS-CoV-2 compared to adults and so COVID-19 vaccines are not routinely recommended for children and young people under 16 years of age even if they are in a clinically extremely vulnerable group.

As the first phase of the programme is rolled out in the UK, additional data will become available on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. These data will provide the basis for consideration of vaccination in groups that are at lower risk of mortality from COVID-19.