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Millions of vulnerable people to receive free Vitamin D deliveries

Millions of vulnerable people to receive free Vitamin D deliveries

The Government is offering millions of vulnerable people in England free supplies of Vitamin D for the winter.

Around 2.7m clinically extremely vulnerable individuals and care home residents are set to receive the deliveries.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said this is because they are at higher risk of suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency, due to spending more time indoors this year as a precaution against Covid-19. 

Making the announcement today (28 November), the DHSC clarified that care homes will automatically receive provision. However, it will send invitations to individuals considered clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid to ‘opt in’ for a supply to be delivered directly to their homes.

The deliveries, lasting from January until May, will be free of charge. The aim of the winter supplements is to support health in general, but particularly of the bones and muscles. 

It comes as health secretary Matt Hancock has asked NICE and Public Heath England (PHE) to again review the evidence so far on the relationship between Vitamin D and Covid. The findings are expected at the end of this year, but researchers currently investigating the link require larger-scale trials.

The Scottish Government has previously advised vulnerable people shielding from the virus to take a daily supplement of the vitamin.

Commenting on today’s news, Mr Hancock said: ‘The Government is taking action to ensure vulnerable individuals can access a free a supply to last them through the darker winter months. This will support their general health, keep their bones and muscles healthy and crucially reduce the pressure on our NHS.

‘A number of studies indicate Vitamin D might have a positive impact in protecting against Covid-19. I have asked NICE and PHE to re-review the existing evidence on the link between Covid-19 and Vitamin D to ensure we explore every potential opportunity to beat this virus.’

PHE currently advises everybody to take 10mcg of Vitamin D a day between October and early March.

Meanwhile, a Spanish study earlier this month suggested that more than 80% of hospitalised Covid patients have a Vitamin D deficiency.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Mark Thomas 28 November, 2020 1:39 am

PHE currently advises everybody to take 10mg of Vitamin D a day between October and early March.

Hopefully it’s 10mcg not 10mg????

Reshikesh Edakadanvannankandy 28 November, 2020 11:45 am

Vitamin D and covid-19
Is it only for clinically vulnerable or for everyone .

Paul Hartley 29 November, 2020 10:21 am

Public Health England published its guidance in June this year. It’s a pity many hospitals and care homes didn’t know about it at the time. This is shameful.

Dave Haddock 29 November, 2020 4:31 pm

A triumph of wishful thinking over Evidence. A classic example of squandering resources after a visit by the good-idea fairy. At least it’s cheap.

David Banner 30 November, 2020 1:56 pm

So what happens once the freebies end in May? Care home staff and families will understandably want sunlight-deficient residents to continue their Vit D, so cue mass requests for testing/prescribing from the hapless GP. It’ll take a hard nosed doctor who tells them to “buy their own”.

Whilst associations between low Vit D and every disease under the sun abound (hardly surprising given the high prevalence of “deficiency” in our cloudy country), hard evidence for benefit from supplementation remains painfully thin. Whilst I understand the “well, it might help and it can’t do any harm” argument in trying to prevent Covid deaths, it does seem like an extraordinary decision to mass medicate the elderly based on a wing and a prayer. Like folate, low Vit D appears to be no more than a surrogate marker of general poor health.

Fobbing off the TATTs with this pseudo diagnosis and a placebo prescription was seen as the last refuge of the GP scoundrel, but now Vit D has been elevated to the elixir of life……bizarre.

Paul Hartley 30 November, 2020 2:08 pm

We were told earlier in the year by the government medical and scientific advisers that there was little evidence that masks reduced transmission of Covid.
Now everybody is wearing them.

David Evans 30 November, 2020 2:15 pm

The good idea fairy may just be right this time

Mark Howson 30 November, 2020 8:14 pm

I don’t mind suggesting some people might
try Vit D I will only direct them to the chemist where it is available otc.

terry sullivan 30 November, 2020 10:07 pm

is it–nhs will be ripped off as always

terry sullivan 30 November, 2020 10:08 pm

its not available otc–may be on line