Changes to the priority list for Covid vaccines for those under 50

Changes to the priority list for Covid vaccines for those under 50

All adults who share a home with an immunocompromised person will be offered a vaccine by mid-April (Photo: Getty Images)

Changes to the coronavirus vaccine priority list will see healthy under 50s living with an adult with weak immune systems move up the list.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today confirmed that all adults who share a home with an immunocompromised person will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

This includes people living with someone who is undergoing chemotherapy, who has HIV or blood cancer, or who takes medicines to weaken their immune system after an organ transplant.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chairman of Covid-19 Vaccines at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said, “The vaccination program has so far seen high vaccine uptake and very encouraging results on infection rates, hospitalizations and mortality.

“Yet we know that the vaccine is not as effective in people who are immunocompromised.

“Our latest advice will help reduce the risk of infection for those who may not be able to fully benefit from the vaccination themselves.

This is the first time that entire households have been prioritized for the jab because of someone they live with.

The idea behind this is that some people with weakened immune systems may not have a strong enough reaction to the vaccine to produce effective long-term immunity. Everyone in this group should have been offered the jab by now.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization made the recommendation for the change (Photo: EPA)
FAO Emily Webber ... Vaccine First Graohic

Those under 50 who live with an adult with a weakened immune system will be pushed back to 10th on the list

But if the people they live with are injected and properly protected against Covid-19, it should help prevent the virus from taking hold in their homes.

This does not apply to children with weakened immune systems, as they are rarely at serious risk of contracting the virus and those under 16 will not yet receive the vaccine.

Mr Hancock has called on the NHS to expand the rollout of the vaccine to this group of people after being asked to do so by the JCVI.

They will be moved to the top of the priority list to receive the vaccine after the over 50s, but before the over 40s.

The Health Secretary wrote in a letter: ‘I ask the NHS England and Improvement to move this advice forward and prioritize family contacts of severely immunosuppressed people for vaccination as you recommend.

“My officials have also shared your advice with colleagues who run the Covid-19 vaccine programs in each of the UK’s four countries. “

It is not yet clear how many people in the population this will affect.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of vaccines at Public Health England, said: “Our surveillance systems and research studies show that vaccines can reduce asymptomatic infection and limit transmission of the virus.

“By vaccinating those living with immunocompromised adults, we can do more to protect vulnerable people.”

It comes after all adults with learning disabilities were added to the priority list in February, following calls from BBC presenter Jo Whiley to kick the most at risk group after gifting it to her sister Frances, who has a learning disability.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, see our news page.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here