Asthma affects 5.4 million people in the UK with someone having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack every 10 seconds. Asthma is a respiratory condition and therefore many sufferers are concerned about the impact on their health if they contract coronavirus. Now the Covid vaccine has been given to 15 million of Britain’s most vulnerable population, some asthma-sufferers are up next. But what exactly is severe asthma?
People whose asthma is under control will not be prioritised for the Covid vaccine according to the Government.
The vaccine rollout in England has now entered a second phase with more than 15 million having received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The first priority groups, including those aged 70 and over, the clinically extremely vulnerable and health and social care workers have now been invited to receive the first dose of the vaccine.
Now, letters will now be sent to those aged 65 and over, as well as those who have underlying health conditions aged 16 to 65 inviting them to receive the first dose of their vaccine.
This means about 5.2 million asthma sufferers will not be invited to have the vaccine yet.
Sufferers of asthma will not be on the list ahead of their peers unless they are formally shielding, regularly take oral steroids or have ever had an emergency hospital admission.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was following independent advice that the immediate priority should be to “prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality”.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “This prioritisation captures almost all preventable deaths from Covid-19.”
People with non-severe asthma are considered by the NHS to be at increased risk from coronavirus, but not at risk of dying from the virus.
Asthma has been linked to an increased risk of long Covid.
Long Covid includes a range of symptoms which can be experienced by people some weeks and months after the initial infection hits.
Anyone with the condition requiring a steroid inhaler or tablets will be offered a free annual flu jab, leading some people to question why they are being treated differently when it comes to Covid.
Asthma sufferers will be vaccinated in the sixth priority group, after the over-65s and frontline staff, if:
- They have received a letter advising them to shield
- They have ever had an emergency asthma admission
- They have had three oral steroid prescriptions over a three month period.
- You can see how much your asthma affects you each day using the Asthma Control Test (ACT) here.
- A low score may mean you need additional help managing your asthma and therefore may be more likely to be invited to get the vaccine more quickly.