COVID-19 vaccination first phase priority groups
As you will be aware, the roll out the Covid-19 vaccine for adults is well under way.
To date, over 12 million people have received their first vaccine with a focus on vaccinating people who are in ‘first phase priority groups’ – this includes groups of people that are deemed at greater risk from Covid-19.
The majority of people living with HIV fall into priority group 6 – this includes ‘adults aged 16 – 65 years in an at risk group’. If you are older than 65, are a health and social care frontline worker or are classed as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ due to a low CD4 or other serious health conditions, you will fall into an earlier priority group. You can see the full list of priority groups here.
We strongly recommend that everyone living with HIV has the Covid-19 vaccination and we want to encourage you to take up the offer of the vaccine when you receive it. The vaccines are given in two doses 12 weeks apart.
The vaccine has been extensively tested and is the easiest and best way to protect yourself from the virus. The British HIV Association (BHIVA) state that ‘there is currently no evidence to suggest a higher risk of side effects (from the vaccine) in people with HIV’. BHIVA also strongly recommend that people living with HIV take up the offer of the vaccine.
You can read BHIVA’s full statement about the vaccine here.
The current arrangements are that you will be contacted by your GP surgery and the vaccine will be administered there. It may be that you have not told your GP that you are living with HIV but, in order to receive the vaccine at the right time your GP will need to know. It is also important that your GP has up-to-date contact information so they can get in touch with you.
If your GP does not know that you are living with HIV we would strongly recommend that you have a conversation with them. Although you are not obliged to tell your GP that you are living with HIV, there are many advantages to them knowing, not least of which is that they will be aware when you need to be called for the vaccine.
We are aware of the difficulties and anxieties sometimes faced by people when thinking about having this conversation with a GP.
If you would like advice, or you have any concerns about talking to your GP, we’re here to help.
Call us on 0161 274 4499 and a Services Adviser will return your call. Alternatively, you could email us.