Call for people with Asthma in Wales to be priority for next vaccine rollout

Picture by NIAID (CC BY 2.0).

People with asthma in Wales should be a priority for the next stage of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, according to Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Wales.

They said the decision to exclude them from priority groups has caused confusion as they had been people told for the past year that they are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19.

There are over 300,000 people with Asthma in Wales, with conditions varying from mild, moderate, and severe. Those whose condition is the most severe will have already been vaccinated as part of category 4 or 6.

But Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Wales said that many people with mild to moderate, well-controlled asthma should be in category 6. Their exclusion, they said, is due to a decision to base prioritisation on the great risk of mortality, rather than the risk of hospitalisation and complications.

“Across Wales, over 300,000 people with asthma have spent the past year making incredible sacrifices to help keep themselves safe and it’s been great to see some starting to get their vaccine,” Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma UK & the British Lung Foundation Wales, said.

“However, many made those sacrifices because they were told to as that their condition placed them at increased risk from Covid-19. Now, many are finding out that they are not a priority for the vaccine and will have to wait longer than expected to get their jab.

“This is understandably causing huge confusion for those living with asthma – with many now unsure when they will be able to get their jab.”

‘Increased risk’

The UK Government has already announced that more people in England with asthma were included in category 6, but these changes have not been replicated in Wales.

Joseph Carter said they had expected most asthma suffers to be covered under the criteria for categories 4 and 6, but that had turned out not to be the case.

“People with asthma are not at greater risk of mortality from the Coronavirus, but the risk of hospitalisation and complications arising from their condition still places them at increased risk compared to those without asthma,” he said.

“It is only right that the Welsh Government prioritise all those with asthma in the next rollout of the vaccine. This will ensure that everyone with the condition gets their vaccine soon, alleviating concern and helping keep vulnerable people safe. We hope these calls will be listened to and adopted.”

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