COVID-19 vaccine – information for clinicians

The NHS has reached a critical milestone of more than 17 million COVID-19 vaccines administrated across the UK.

On 15 February 2021, the NHS moved on to vaccinating people in priority group 6, which includes people with severe mental illness (SMI), people with severe and profound learning disability and carers.

In England, we know that local vaccination services led by GPs are now working hard to offer the vaccination to everyone living with SMI and/or intellectual disability in the community, and hospital providers have now begun to offer the vaccine to people in Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism settings who are aged 16 or above.

We’ve created a webpage about COVID-19 vaccination to give you a one-stop shop with links to key information you need.

It provides:

  • links to Information about the vaccination programme in England including specific information regarding primary and secondary care, and information about supplies and vaccination centres
  • operational guidance for vaccinating JCVI cohort 6 in England including adults (16-64 yrs) with a Severe Mental Illness, Intellectual Disability, carers and those in inpatient or residential settings
  • links to information for your patients specific to each of the four countries in the UK
  • a new resource from Equally Well UK with a guide for people with severe mental illness and their carers on what to expect from the COVID-19 vaccination programme
  • links to the latest information regarding which vaccines have been approved by MHRA
  • a statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges regarding the decision of the four Chief Medical Officers to prioritise the first dose of the vaccine and delay the second dose
  • a link to watch a recent webinar we ran to help you understand some of the thinking behind the vaccine roll-out in England and the key issues to consider when offering the vaccine to those with a severe mental illness, intellectual disability and/or dementia.

Our lobbying work

The College has been working hard to ensure that people with SMI, intellectual disability and autism are not forgotten in the allocation of COVID vaccines.

We’ve written to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and discussed with the Secretary of State Matt Hancock about how these groups are at an elevated risk of morbidity and mortality and that inpatients and residential settings are high-risk environments for these patients.

We were pleased to see that when JCVI updated our guidance in December they included our recommendation that adults with severe mental illness, intellectual disability, and/or dementia are included in the priority group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other high-risk adults with underlying physical health conditions. We are now monitoring vaccine uptake in these groups.

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