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Our response to the vaccine phase 2 priority list

26th Feb 2021

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has delivered their recommendations for Phase 2 of the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. We're extremely disappointed to learn that they haven't included household members of the clinically extremely vulnerable in the priority list.

Prioritisation will continue in the following order:

  • all those aged 40 to 49 years
  • all those aged 30 to 39 years
  • all those aged 18 to 29 years

You can read the JCVI's full decision here.

Gemma Peters, Chief Executive of Blood Cancer UK, responds:

“People with blood cancer are at extremely high risk from the virus, and because they have weakened immune systems we don’t know how well the vaccines will work for them.

This means many of them are anxious about their household members bringing the virus into the home, and so vaccinating the people they live with is important for protecting them. Over the last month, people with blood cancer have made the case for their household members to be prioritised for the vaccine, and many of them will be devastated to learn that this argument has been ignored.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) previously included household members of the clinically extremely vulnerable in its priority list, and when it removed them it said it would consider them again if it became clear that the vaccines affect transmission. Its latest guidance argues that despite encouraging signs, the evidence on this is still limited.

“We find this hard to accept. It directly contradicts Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, who this week said there is now ‘strong evidence’ the Pfizer vaccine prevents infection. It also flies in the face of comments from Profs Chris Whitty, Jonathan Van-Tam, and Patrick Vallance, all of who have stood at Downing Street press conferences over the last few weeks and said they are almost certain the vaccines affect transmission."

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam's comments on transmission:

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam's comments on transmission:

"Given the views of all these experts, how can it possibly be right that a person in their 20s who lives with someone with leukaemia might have to wait until July before they get a vaccine?

“It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that refusing to act in the absence of absolute certainty about transmission, the JCVI have made a bad decision that will needlessly put the lives of people with blood cancer at risk. My thoughts today are with the people with blood cancer who will be extremely disappointed by this news, and rightly feel that they have been let down.”

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