WALES is bringing forward two key dates for its coronavirus vaccine rollout, with the hope everyone in the top nine priority groups will have been offered their first jab by mid-April.

The Welsh Government will also hope to offer the vaccine to the entire adult population by the end of July, and this will be done on an age basis.

It said both these dates depended on smooth supply and distribution lines within the UK.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said he believed the Welsh vaccine programme “could go even faster” if more doses were made available.

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In its latest update to the vaccine strategy, published on Friday, the Welsh Government said it estimated one million people will have received their first jab by the middle of March.

People in the four highest priority groups have already been invited for their first jab. This was achieved by February 12, the Welsh Government said.

The new aim is to offer the first vaccine to everyone in the next five groups – namely, priority groups 5-9 – by the middle of April.

The Welsh Government said around 99 per cent of coronavirus-related deaths could be prevented once everyone in the top-nine priority groups has been vaccinated.

Based on the latest scientific advice, Wales and the rest of the UK will then begin vaccinating the wider adult population.

Prioritisation of the vaccine will be done by age, with older people vaccinated first.

The UK-wide JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) recommends people aged 40-49 will be next to receive a vaccine offer, followed by those aged 30-39, then those aged 18-29.

“Organising the programme by age is the most straightforward approach that allows everyone to be offered a vaccination as quickly as possible,” the Welsh Government said in its updated vaccine strategy.

“A more complex system would require the setting up of new systems and arrangements which would take time and potentially slow down deployment.”

Reacting to the new plans, Mr Gething said: “A huge amount of progress has been made in rolling out the vaccine since our strategy was first published only six weeks ago.

“I am pleased to confirm we have brought forward two key target dates, but I must emphasise again that this is based on getting the required supply from the UK government.

“It is encouraging that the UK government has brought forward some of Wales’ supply allocation, but from the information available to us at this point there are concerns with both the type of supply and the timing of its delivery.

“We have always said that we could go even faster were the supply available.”

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