I have received correspondence from concerned constituents regarding booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for asthma patients.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) concluded that only those with more severe forms of asthma are at clinically high risk from COVID-19. This group are defined as adults with asthma who require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission and will have been eligible for vaccination as part of priority group six. An individual with a more severe case of asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, in which case they will have been eligible as part of priority group four. To assist GPs in identifying patients eligible for a vaccine in each priority cohort, NHS Digital aligned specifications for the identification of patients via their medical records with GP system suppliers. Asthma sufferers were identified through this system and invited to make an appointment when the vaccination programme reached their priority cohort.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published its interim advice for a two-stage booster vaccination programme beginning in September. The first stage would include, among others, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. The second stage would include adults aged 16-49 who are in either a flu or COVID-19 at-risk group. This means that those who are usually eligible for the annual flu vaccine would be included in the second stage.
This is, however, only interim advice and the JCVI will consider additional scientific data ahead of publishing the final advice in due course. I understand that this will include further data on the durability of protection from vaccines beyond six months and clinical trial data.
I will of course be following developments closely and look forward to seeing the JCVI’s final advice.