Vaccine experts advising the Government have published a detailed list of who should get any Covid-19 jab first.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said care home residents were among those who should be given the jab first, with healthy members of the public later vaccinated according to their age.
The committee examined data on who suffers the worst outcomes from coronavirus and who is at highest risk of death.
The interim guidance says the order of priority should be:
– Older adults in a care home and care home workers
– All those aged 80 and over and health and social care workers, though they may move up the list
– Anyone 75 years of age and over
– People aged 70 and over
– All those aged 65 and over
– High-risk adults under 65 years of age
– Moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
– All those aged 60 and over
– All those 55 and over
– All those aged 50 and over
– The rest of the population, with priority yet to be determined.
The JCVI said the “prioritisation could change substantially if the first available vaccines were not considered suitable for, or effective in, older adults”.
Any vaccination programme must also ensure good coverage among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, as well as those living in deprived areas, it said.
Groups with underlying conditions that could lead to priority vaccination include people who have suffered a stroke, those with poorly controlled diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, obesity (BMI over 40) or liver disease, the JCVI added.
But it stressed this list was “not considered definitive” as more data is still being collected on at-risk groups.
Jon Cohen, emeritus professor of infectious diseases at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “The publication of an initial discussion of how a Covid vaccine would be rolled out is a welcome and important first step.”
He said the “tricky issue” will be if the first vaccine available “offers only limited protection, and – as is certainly possible – is only weakly effective in older people”.
“As JCVI say, this may significantly alter the priority ranking,” he added.
He said future data would depend on the outcome of global vaccine trials.