The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published interim advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination.
Frontline health and social care workers are to be the highest priority for vaccination as they are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection. JCVI have stated the next priority for a vaccine should be those at increased risk of serious disease and health, including people with dementia. This is the first official acknowledgment that people with dementia are at increased risk.
Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society said:
“It’s welcome news that JCVI have included people with dementia in their list of priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine. A quarter of all Covid-19 deaths have been people with dementia, and this is the first time it has been officially acknowledged that they are at greater risk.
“Isolation has had a hugely damaging impact on people affected by dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect support line is taking thousands of calls from people devastated by the effects of lockdown, reporting dementia symptoms getting worse, and family carers isolated and struggling to cope. An effective vaccine would allow people with dementia to get back out into the community, and prevent further devastating outbreaks in care homes.
“Given the hugely disproportionate effect the virus has had on people living with dementia, the Government’s new social care taskforce must have dementia at its heart, and undertake an immediate and rapid review to understand why dementia deaths have been a terrifying 52% higher than expected. We must quickly learn lessons, and prevent more people with dementia dying before a vaccine arrives.”