COVID-19 vaccine advice on priority groups

Information received from the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, of which we are a member, which provides a summary of the vaccine advice on priority groups
Following this morning’s announcement that the MHRA has approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now published its advice on priority groups for the vaccine.
It is worth noting that the prioritisation differs slightly from the JCVI’s interim advice on priority groups published in September, with high risk adults and the clinically extremely vulnerable now slightly higher in the prioritisation list. The final list of priority groups are now prioritised as follow:
  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. All those 80 years of age and over. Frontline health and social care workers
  3. All those 75 years of age and over
  4. All those 70 years of age and over. 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
  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
The Government’s guidance on the clinically extremely vulnerable is described here. The advice on vaccination does not include pregnant women and those under the age of 16 years because there is limited or no data on the safety of the vaccinations in these groups at this time.
The JCVI advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes from COVID-19, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination and the potential risks should be discussed with the child’s clinical team.
On CEV adults, the advice notes many individuals who are CEV will have some degree of immunosuppression or be immunocompromised and may not respond as well to the vaccine. The advice therefore says those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to follow Government advice on reducing their risk of infection.
On households of people who are CEV, the advice says once sufficient evidence becomes available on the value of indirect protection the JCVI will consider options for a “cocooning strategy” for immunosuppressed individuals, including whether any specific vaccine is preferred in this population.
For people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions, the JCVI say they had good evidence that the absolute increased risk of this group is lower than the increased risk in people over the age of 65 years. The list of underlying health conditions included is described in the JCVI’s statement, and copied at the bottom of this email.
Underlying health conditions – risk groups
  • 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

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