Leading UK health charities including Terrence Higgins Trust have published an open letter encouraging people with underlying conditions including cancer, diabetes and heart disease as well as people living with HIV to come forward for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The charities have asked those with underlying medical conditions, their carers and those with learning disabilities on their GP register, to book a vaccination to protect themselves and those around them from coronavirus.
The charities who signed the open letter are among 22 who have joined together in partnership to reassure those they support about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
GP services already have been contacting this cohort but those who have not yet received a letter can get a quick and convenient appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy by using the national booking system or calling 119. The NHS have sent text messages to people in this group with a link so they can book their appointment.
The vaccine is safe and effective and very few people are advised not to have it. However, if you have any concerns, you can discuss these if you book over the phone, or with a health professional at your appointment.
Information for people living with HIV
People living with HIV, at all stages of infection, are part of cohort 6 (if not already covered by one of the first five priority groups).
The majority of patients will be invited for vaccination by their GP. If you haven't shared your HIV status with your GP, your HIV clinic should facilitate the vaccination, most likely via a local vaccination hospital hub.
Open letter to people with an underlying health condition in cohort 6
This letter has been signed by a range of health charities including Diabetes UK, Cancer Research UK, Mencap, MS Society and Terrence Higgins Trust.
We are writing today to encourage people living with an underlying health condition in cohort 6 to come forward for a COVID-19 vaccine.
People with these conditions, including their carers and those with learning disabilities on the learning disability register, have been prioritised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation because they are more likely to become seriously unwell from Covid-19.
The vast majority of you should already have been invited for vaccination and more than half of you have already received your first dose.
Some of you may still be waiting for a letter from your GP.
But the good news is, even if you have not received your letter yet, you can now get an appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy, quickly and easily, by using the national booking system or calling 119 in England.
We are proud to support the vaccination roll-out and are here to support you.
The vaccine is safe and effective and very few people are advised not to have it. However, if you have any concerns, you can discuss these when
you book, or with a health professional at your appointment.
Over 20 million people in the UK have had their first dose and great progress has been made by the NHS.
We are very pleased to see the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out providing protection for people, like you, who are most at risk from the virus.
Underlying health conditions in cohort 6 include chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver disease and neurological conditions, including multiple
sclerosis (MS) and epilepsy, stroke, vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression, due to a health condition or treatment, asplenia or
dysfunction of the spleen, morbid obesity, severe mental illness, as well as sickle cell, lupus and those on GP learning disability registers.
Cohort 6 also includes carers who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.
The vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK have met the strict safety standards set by the medicines regulator on safety, quality and effectiveness.
To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues, you still need to follow the current government guidance on social contact after receiving
Please come forward to have the jab. It will help save lives and offers the best form of protection from this terrible virus.