Alongside 14 other leading health charities, we are today joining the Government and NHS in encouraging people with long-term health conditions and their carers to get the COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccine.
The charity coalition aims to encourage people in Cohort 6 to protect themselves from the coronavirus by taking up their vaccine offer once they receive it. People in this cohort began receiving invitations since 15th February to come forward for the vaccination.
Cohort 6 covers people aged 16 to 64 with certain conditions identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as being at higher clinical risk from COVID-19. This includes people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Carers who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole of primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of complications from COVID-19, also fall under Cohort 6.
As the campaign was launched, Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, praised the NHS, health and care professionals, local partners and volunteers for the “incredible success” of the UK’s vaccination programme.
He said: “The pace of the roll out to date shows what we can achieve when we pull together as one UK, and having the support of the charities who work every day to support the very people we are reaching out to in Cohort 6 is a shot in the arm for the campaign.
“Their help, encouragement and links with communities next in line for the jab will help make sure everyone can get access to the life saving protection the vaccine provides, and help protect those with underlying conditions and their carers.”
Other charities who are joining us in supporting the campaign are the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust; British Heart Foundation; British Liver Trust; British Lung Foundation / Asthma UK; Cancer Research UK; Carers UK; Diabetes UK; Epilepsy Action; Kidney Care UK; MacMillan; Mencap; MS Society; Sickle Cell Society; and Terrence Higgins Trust.
“People living with chronic inflammatory conditions such as lupus are at an increased risk from COVID-19. For this reason I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself and all those around you.” Prof Chris Edwards, Consultant Rheumatologist at University Hospital Southampton.
“We are very pleased to see the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out providing protection for people who are most at risk from the virus. We have seen COVID-19 infection is more likely to be severe, or in some cases fatal, in people living with lupus. It is therefore generally recommended people with lupus are vaccinated when invited by the NHS.” Paul Howard, Chief Executive of LUPUS UK.