People under 40 who are yet to be vaccinated are to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, say Welsh government.

In a statement issued today it says: ’’Adhering to the latest expert information, as a precautionary measure the Welsh government will immediately implement the change in advice from JCVI and MHRA and offer those under 40 (with no clinical risk factors) who are not yet vaccinated an alternate to AstraZeneca.’’

The appropriate vaccine will be made available at their appointment.

Welsh government says it does not envisage this will lead to a delay to the roll-out of its vaccine programme in Wales.

The statement adds: ’’Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AZ vaccine should be reassured that they should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, in line with JVCI advice. Medical exemptions may apply to a very small minority.

’’The AstraZeneca vaccine has already saved thousands of lives and remains safe and effective for the majority of the population.

’’Over 1.2million people have received the AZ vaccine in Wales since January, with very few cases of the rare clotting with thrombocytopenia event.

’’Vaccines remain the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against Covid-19 – it is important that when people are called forward, they should get their jab.

’’To date, over 1.8million people in Wales have received a first dose of vaccine and a further 800,000 have also received a second dose.

’’The Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and NHS Wales are working with other agencies to continually monitor vaccine safety and will keep this issue under close review.

’’In Wales, people’s safety will always come first and we will only use vaccines where it is safe to do so and the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.’’