Severely obese people in the UK are set to get the coronavirus vaccine before fit and healthy over-60s, guidance has confirmed.
Public Health England official guidance has confirmed severely obese people with Body Mass Indexes (BMI) of more than 60 and aged between 18 and 65 will be on the priority list.
Oxford and AstraZeneca’s vaccine is one of several promising candidates, with NHS hospitals across the country reportedly told to get set for a December rollout.
The vaccine priority queue sees residents and staff in a care home for older adults in first place, before all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers in 2nd, and all those 75 years of age and over in third.
All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 18 years of age) are fourth, before all those 65 years of age and over, and then adults aged 18 to 65 years in an at-risk group.
All those 60 years of age and over are seventh, with all those 55 years of age and over eighth and all those 50 years of age and over ninth.
“At risk” people include the obese, as well as those with diabetes, adult carers, severely mentally ill people, and younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings.
Anybody with chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and vascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease and neurological disease are also inluded.
Chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson has said he expects the Pfizer vaccine to reach regulatory approval by “early to mid December”.
Speaking about the Pfizer vaccine on BBC Breakfast, he said: “They are in batches of 975 that you can’t break up, you’ve got to store them at (temperatures of) minus 70 or minus 80 in a very large cold-chain fridge, and then because they only last five days when they come out of the fridge, you’ve also got to ensure you’ve got all those 975 people lined up and ready to go.
“So whereas the other vaccines are probably likely to be done through primary care, through GP surgeries like they do flu vaccination, for the Pfizer one it’s going to be our trusts who are going to have to do that…
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“This a huge logistical task that we’re doing at real pace, so I can’t believe there won’t be some bumps in the road…
“But look how brilliant the NHS is in terms of being innovative and adapting to ensure it can fight this coronavirus, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing to ensure that we can deliver the vaccine.”