GPs should be among the second groupings of people to receive a potential Covid-19 vaccine, updated advice from Government advisors says.
Initial guidance in June from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which recommended that frontline health and care staff should be prioritised due to their increased risk of being exposed to coronavirus and transmitting it to patients.
However the JCVI has now said people living in care homes and the staff looking after them should be at the very top of the list for a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
Healthcare and social care workers would be next in the list of priorities, according to an updated analysis of who is most at risk.
Older adults should also be prioritised for vaccination as long as an available vaccine is safe and effective in those age groups.
The interim recommendations form part of ongoing modelling on how best to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine programme once one is available and will be subject to change as more evidence is collected, the JCVI said.
‘The committee strongly agree that a simple age-based programme will likely result in faster delivery and better uptake in those at the highest risk.
‘Whether health and social care workers should be prioritised above, alongside, or below, persons at highest risk from Covid-19 would depend on the characteristics of the vaccines when they become available and the epidemiology of disease at the time of delivery,’ the committee said.
A provisional ranking of priorities taking into account clinical risk and age is:
- older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers1
- all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers1
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over
- all those 65 years of age and over
- high-risk adults under 65 years of age
- moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
- rest of the population (priority to be determined)
But this could change substantially should a vaccine not be considered suitable for or effective in elderly people, the JCVI said.
More work is being done on refining those most at risk from serious effects of Covid-19, the committee said and noted that this may include deprivation and ethnicity.
The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said that a vaccine could become available before the end of this year.
But he said was it was ‘much more likely’ that it would happen ‘in the first half of next year’.