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Adults who are immunosuppressed have a weaker immune system, meaning they are less able to fight infections naturally. These individuals are more likely to have poorer outcomes following COVID-19 infection and recent evidence suggests that they may not respond as well to the COVID-19 vaccine as others.

There is growing evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines may reduce the chance of someone who has been vaccinated passing the virus on. Given this emerging evidence, The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that those over 16 years of age who live with severely immunosuppressed adults are offered the COVID-19 vaccination alongside priority group 6. This will help limit the spread of the virus to immunosuppressed adults.

GP Surgeries across East Cornwall need your help for the next stage of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. We are appealing to immunosuppressed patients in the area, asking them to let adults that share their home know, that they can now also book a Covid-19 vaccination appointment via their registered GP practice. Many patients may have already received a call or letter about this.

Anyone over 16 years of age, who lives with a patient with severe immunosuppression will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination and it is very important that they take this offer up.

If an adult is supporting an immunosuppressed patient through a period of treatment, for example chemotherapy, and they are unable to provide a valid proof of address, they should contact their registered GP, who will be able to advise them.

Unfortunately members of ‘bubbles’ that do not live with an immunosuppressed person for the majority of the week, such as frequent visitors and other non- carers who might visit the house often, are not included in this guidance.

Our surveillance systems and research studies are showing that the COVID-19 vaccines can reduce asymptomatic infection and limit transmission of the virus. By vaccinating those who live with adults who are immunosuppressed, we can further help protect vulnerable people.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England

Immunocompromised or immunosuppressed

Immunocompromised or immunosuppressed means having a weakened immune system. Immunocompromised patients have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. This may be caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, and certain genetic disorders. It may also be caused by certain medicines or treatments, such as anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, and stem cell or organ transplant. Also called immunosuppressed.

Cancer patients can become immunocompromised (at least for a period of time) due to the disease, as a result of treatment they are undergoing, or a combination of both reasons.

© East Cornwall Primary Care Network 2021

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