Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation responds to new interim guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that sets out the priority list for those who should get a COVID-19 booster jab if the programme is rolled out. The interim advice suggests that people with asthma on the free flu jab list would be offered the booster vaccine. She said:
“We are delighted that the government has listened to our campaign which thousands of people with asthma have backed. This interim advice suggests that people with asthma on the free flu jab list will be offered the added protection of a booster vaccine to protect them from COVID-19.
“Along with thousands of people with asthma, we have been campaigning hard to raise awareness of the issues with the COVID vaccine rollout so far, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of people with asthma who were most at risk not getting their jab when they should. We have also shone a light on emerging research showing that people with asthma could be at an increased risk of hospitalisation and getting Long COVID.
“If this advice is made official it would be a huge win for people with asthma and will mean that no-one at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 will be missed out. The JCVI now needs to confirm this advice in the autumn. The government is still to announce whether or not it is safe to administer the flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster at the same time. If this approach is given the green light, GPs and pharmacies will need ample notice to deliver this booster programme and those eligible need clear information about how to book their jabs.”