People with underlying conditions encouraged to get COVID-19 vaccine

People with underlying conditions encouraged to get COVID-19 vaccine
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UK health charities are encouraging anyone with an underlying health condition to come forward for a COVID-19 vaccine.

A number of UK charities have penned an open letter encouraging people with underlying health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as their carers and those with learning disabilities, to have their COVID-19 vaccines.

The charities, including Mencap, Diabetes UK, and Lupus UK, hope that the call will increase take vaccine uptake among those in the cohort 6, at-risk group.

Vaccine uptake

GP services already have been contacting people in cohort 6, however, those who have not yet received a letter are still able to get a vaccine appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy by using the national booking system or calling 119.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The backing of the charities who work every day to support those who are entitled to a jab as part of cohort 6 is a great boost for the vaccine rollout and shows what we can achieve when we pull together. This open letter is a hugely important way to reassure those with underlying health conditions, and their carers, about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

“The charities’ support for this national vaccine effort is invaluable in encouraging more people to come forward and helping us to save lives.”

Underlying health conditions faced by people in the vulnerable cohort 6 group 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.

Minister for Vaccines Nadhim Zahawi said: “We have already given a first dose of the vaccine to more than half of those in cohort 6 and I am grateful to the charities who are encouraging more people in that group to come forward. The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and offers the chance to protect yourself and others – that is why it’s vital that people get their jab.

“This open letter should help to reassure those with any concerns the vaccine is safe and supported by more than twenty of our most trusted charities. I would like to thank them all for backing this life-saving campaign and offering their expertise and assistance to support the largest medical deployment in British history.”

Anyone who has concerns regarding the vaccine can discuss these over the phone, or with a health professional at an appointment.

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