GPs are set to join hospitals in the vaccination rollout programme this week, but what does that mean for you and when will you get vaccinated?
The government’s nine-step vaccination guide contains terms such as “clinically extremely vulnerable” and “underlying health conditions”, which can be difficult to understand at first.
Here’s a breakdown of what each step of the vaccine programme means, so you can find out which group you are in and when you will be receiving your coronavirus jab.
1. Residents in care homes for older adults and their carers
- Care home residents have been worse affected by coronavirus. Given the high risk of outbreaks, morbidity and mortality in care homes, they are considered highest priority.
- Care home staff being vaccinated too will be highly efficient
2. Everyone aged 80 and over, and frontline health and social care workers
- Evidence suggests old age is the highest risk of mortality from COVID-19
- Health and social care workers are at increased risk of infection exposure
- Includes those working in hospice care and temporary work in COVID-19 vaccination programme who provide face-to-face clinical care
3. People aged 75 and over
4. Aged 70 and over, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- Clinically extremely vulnerable persons are defined as those who are/were shielding for most of the pandemic. List of conditions can be found here.
- Exceptions: pregnant women with heart disease and children
5. Aged 65 and over
6. People aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions
- Underlying health conditions include: 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/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
7. Aged 60 and over
8. Aged 55 and over
9. Aged 50 and over
Important information about the vaccine programme:
Pregnancy: No data has been released yet on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation states: “Women should be advised not to come forward for vaccination if they may be pregnant or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose.”
Allergies: People with a history of significant allergic reactions should avoid the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, regulators say. Guidance can be found here.
Children: Almost all children will have asymptomatic infection or a mild disease. The committee says “only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neurological-disabilties that require residential care, should be offered vaccination with a person with parental responsibility.”
Ethnicity: The committee states: “Certain health conditions are associated with increased risk of serious disease and these health conditions are often overrepresented in certain Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups [BAME].
“Good vaccine coverage in [BAME] groups will be the most important factor within a vaccine programme in reducing inequalities for this group.”
Occupational vaccination (other than frontline health and social care workers): Possible vaccination based on exposure risk in occupation for phase 1.