At the end of 2020, UK regulators began approving vaccines for COVID-19. In time, this will help protect vulnerable patients from experiencing a severe COVID-19 disease, and their life to gradually regain a sense of normality.
As the national vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across the UK, we’ve joined fellow organisations in ensuring high-risk patients, like blood cancer patients awaiting a transplant, are treated as a top priority. This includes patients who have received a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past six months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine.
Early prioritisation lists by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – who advises UK health departments – did not appropriately rank extremely vulnerable patients according to their overall risk to COVID-19.
Through our influencing, and that of our partners, we’re made sure patients are prioritised with people aged 70 and over.
For patients without a functioning immune system or those unable to receive a vaccine, alternatives are also currently in development. These include a long-acting monoclonal antibody cocktail which appears to help prevent COVID-19 in at-risk groups. With clinical trials still ongoing, we will continue to monitor their results and plan the delivery to those in need.
For the latest information on the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programmes, see our ‘Coronavirus and your stem cell transplant’ page.