Coronavirus: Vaccination

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th January 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake in at-risk groups.

Photo of Lord Kamall Lord Kamall The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

On 16 December, the Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that pregnant women of any age should be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination. Pregnant women are included in priority group six, alongside adults under the age of 65 years old who have long term health conditions. We have provided vaccine toolkits for local services, stakeholders, partners and employers to address concerns on pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility. We have shared case stories of women of childbearing age who received the COVID-19 vaccine before, during or after pregnancy to reassure women who may still be concerned. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional teams and providers to ensure that advice on vaccination in pregnancy, including the risks and benefits of vaccination to pregnant women, is being offered in antenatal services and primary care settings.

We are providing resources and additional information to charities and patient organisations representing those living with severely compromised immune systems to share with their members and followers. NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing tailored communications for specialists caring for each group of eligible patients within the immunosuppressed cohort. This will include template referral letters for clinicians to signpost patients for vaccination. We have enabled patients with a weakened immune system to receive a third dose from a walk-in site if they have received a referral letter from their general practitioner or hospital doctor, they are aged 12 years old or over and eight weeks has elapsed since their second dose.

We are also ensuring that people with learning disabilities and autism can have reasonable adjustments made within the vaccination programme. This includes training resources for vaccination teams, accessible information such as an easy read vaccination invitation letter and consent form and a film on the COVID-19 vaccine.

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