Updated Covid-19 vaccination guidance

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5 December 2020

Vaccine for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, clinically vulnerble and carers

Adults who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (those that have been previously asked to shield), people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable) and unpaid adult carers should have now been offered their Covid-19 vaccination.

Genetic Alliance UK collaborated with Angelman UK, Contact, Disabled Children’s Partnership, Muscular Dystrophy UK, Neurological Alliance, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK on a letter to the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) on 19 November. In this letter we called for the committee to take account of both the clinical impact of Covid-19 and the social impact of restrictions to protect us from Covid-19 on our community. We hope that this letter contributed to the considerations that led to the higher prioritisation for our community.

New vaccination priority order

The new priority order (with positive changes relevant to our community in bold) is:

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 (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age).
5. All those 65 years of age and over.
6. All individuals aged 16 years to 65 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. Other groups at higher risk, including those who receive carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person, should also be offered vaccination alongside this group.
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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         10. Rest of the population – currently people aged 30 and over.

Pregnant women can be given the Covid-19 vaccine and will be invited when their age group are offered it or earlier if they have a health condition or reason that means they are eligible.

Which vaccine should I get?

–It is recommended you have the same vaccine for both doses.

–If you are pregnat it is preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues. It is recommended that you have the same vaccine for both doses but if you had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects you should have it for your 2nd dose.

–If you’re under 40, you’ll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. If you’re 40 or over, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant to make sure you’re only shown appointments for these vaccines. If you had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects you should have it for your 2nd dose.

Vaccination for children

Priority level four does include some children, but not all clinically extremely vulnerable children – ‘only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination.’

The basis for this is that there is not sufficient data for the vaccine to be considered safe enough for the benefits to outweigh the risks for children. The guidance leaves the option of individual parent-clinician decision-making: ‘Clinicians should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with a person with parental responsibility, who should be told about the paucity of safety data for the vaccine in children aged [under] 16 years.’

Vaccination for people with underlying health conditions

People over the age of 16 living with the following conditions will be at priority level 6:

– Chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.
– Chronic heart disease (and vascular disease).
– Chronic kidney disease.
– Chronic liver disease.
– Chronic neurological disease including epilepsy.
– Down’s syndrome.
– Severe and profound learning disability.
– Diabetes.
– Solid organ, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients.
– People with specific cancers.
– Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment.
– Asplenia and splenic dysfunction.
– Morbid obesity.
– Severe mental illness.

Vaccination for immunosuppressed and immunocompromised people

The JCVI has advised the government to prioritise people for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine who are over 16 and living with adults who have weakened immune systems, such as those with blood cancer, HIV or those on immunosuppressive treatment including chemotherapy.

How do I book my vaccination?

You can stay up-to-date with what groups are currently being vaccinated and book your vaccination on the NHS website if you don’t receive a text or a letter.

Please let us know of any questions that you think need answering by emailing covid-19@geneticalliance.org.uk .