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BRITS are being called for Covid vaccines despite being younger than the urgently prioritised groups.
Currently, everyone over 60 and anyone with a health condition that increases their risk of Covid are being prioritised for jab slots
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Some people are invited for the vaccine regardless of age. Pictured: A younger person receiving their jab at St Columba’s church in Sheffield, northern England, on February 20Credit: AFP or licensors
But people in their 50s have already been called up, potentially due to the speed of the rollout.
There are anecdotal reports of people in their 40s, 30s and even 20s being asked to book a vaccination slot by the NHS, even though they have no serious health condition.
The priority list has been set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination (JCVI) and Immunisation (JCVI) in order to prevent the most deaths and severe illness.
People have described their sheer disbelief at being invited for their jab, despite never considering themselves to be vulnerable to Covid.
Here are the official reasons you may have been invited for the vaccine earlier than expected:
You have a high BMI
If you have are obese, you will be priortised for the coronavirus vaccine.
People carrying extra weight have been found to be more at risk of coronavirus death if they catch the virus.
The JCVI has recommended those with “morbid obesity” are prioritised for the vaccine, which is having a body mass index (BMI) of over 40.
This week James ‘Arg’ Argent, from the Only Way is Essex, got his jab.
The 33-year-old, who recently tipped the scales at 26 stone, has been open about struggling to keep his weight under control in lockdown. He also has severe asthma.
This week James ‘Arg’ Argent, from the Only Way is Essex, got his jabCredit: CLICK NEWS AND MEDIA
You are on medicine for a health condition
Even if you have a health condition, you may not consider yourself a high-risk person.
However, health bosses say people on certain medications must get their jab because of the effect the drug has on their system.
People with a compromised immune system – due to disease or treatment – are in the top priority groups.
This could include someone with rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
People with severe asthma have also been selected, but only if they take oral steroid drugs have been told to shield or have ever been admitted to hospital due to their condition.
Alexandra Thompson, a journalist at Yahoo, recently described how she never expected to be called up for her vaccine so early considering she feels in excellent health and is 30 years old.
She had been admitted to hospital once before, in 2017, due to her asthma, which prompted doctors to invite her in.
You are a healthcare worker
If you are a frontline health and social care worker, you should have been called up for your jab earlier this year.
These workers – including doctors and nurses – are in the top four priority groups for a vaccine because their job exposes them to the virus so often.
Health chiefs have said healthcare workers have a “professional responsibility” to get their jab, after figures show some have turned it down.
Doctor Kate Martin (R) administers an injection of AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to a patient at the vaccination centre set up at St Columba’s church in Sheffield, northern England, on February 20Credit: AFP or licensors
When an NHS vaccine invite is a scam
It may come as a surprise if you are invited for your vaccine earlier than expected.
But beware of scams that are ripping people off by posing as the NHS.
The Covid vaccine is free of charge on the NHS.
The NHS will never ask for:
- your bank account or card details
- your pin or banking password
- copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips
If you think you have been a victim of fraud or identify theft, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Some of the reasons young people may have been invited for their vaccine:
They work or live with at-risk people
There are health and social care workers who have been invited for their jab even if people don’t imagine them to work on the “frontline”.
These include counsellors, social workers, physiotherapists or housing support officers.
Unpaid carers have been offered the Covid vaccine as they fall under priority group six.
They are identified via two ways – either if they are registered as an unpaid carer with their GP, or if they are entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
One 23-year-old woman told The Sun she had received her vaccine because her dad is vulnerable, having been diagnosed with cancer in 2020.
She said: “My dad has had the vaccine and my mum called the GP to see if she could get it because she cares for him.
“She also asked if her daughter could get it and they said yes. We got booked in later that day.”
Another healthy 25-year-old woman said her work, a private healthcare company, had been arranging Covid vaccinations and she was invited to come forward.
She told The Sun: “My job involves delivering refrigerated medicines to people with various health conditions across southern England.
“My work sent a text under ‘urgent matter’ to staff asking them if they had their vaccine. Four colleagues have since had their jab as a result.”
The JCVI recommend that within the staff group, priority should be given to frontline staff “at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment”.
There were vaccine doses spare
There have been reports of GP practises giving out spare coronavirus doses to anyone available so that they don’t go to waste.
The Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at freezing temperatures, and once taken out to thaw, it will become unviable in a matter of days.
Due to cancellations or no-shows, GP practises may call people unexpectedly to come in for a vaccine.
RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said GPs were using “their clinical judgment and taking sensible measures, such as contacting other vulnerable patients or frontline healthcare professionals, who are also on the Covid-19 vaccination priority list” when there were spare doses.
He has previously said at the start of the rollout: “Our vaccine supply is precious and where possible, every dose should be used to protect patients from this terrible virus.”
An area is speeding ahead in their programme
There are regional differences in how quickly the vaccine programme is moving, either due to speed or variations in uptake.
There are at least 10 areas expected to finish jabbing all over 50s by the first week of March – a month ahead of target.
It means residents under 50 years old may have already been asked to book their appointment for the near future.
London has vaccinated the lowest proportion of over 80s, due low uptake or difficulty reaching people, and so has moved into other categories ahead of other regions.
Denzel Kennedy a front line receptionist receives the first of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at the Hurley Clinic in LondonCredit: PA:Press Association
Some people simply appear to have been offered the vaccine by mistake – and have grabbed the opportunity.
Ellie, 28, from Balham, south London, who has no health conditions, called her GP to check her invite after she was contacted.
She told the i: “They just said ‘it’s your lucky day make sure you turn up’.
“They didn’t really have any reasoning.”
She said staff giving her the vaccine didn’t know why she was called.
She said: “At first I assumed I might have something in my health history I wasn’t aware of that bumped me up the list.
“But when I called up to ask the surgery said it was merely working its way through its patients.”
Two people were shocked to be invited to a vaccination centre in Tower Hamlets, despite being in their 30s and not classed as extremely clinically vulnerable.
Both phoned their registered GPs to check it was not a mistake, and said they were told the invitation was legitimate and they were free to book, which they did, The Guardian reported.
They had their jab at Limehouse at the Cable Street surgery, which said it was not responsible for the booking error.
“We were in disbelief,” one of the patients said.
“Of course I am extremely grateful to be in this position but it does feel a little under the table given the over-70s and vulnerable I know still waiting in other parts of the country.”