Change in Covid vaccine priority for asthmatics is ‘heartbreaking’, says Sheffield woman

People with non-severe asthma will no longer be prioritised for the Covid vaccine in what has been described as a ‘heartbreaking’ move by an asthmatic from Sheffield.

Friday, 19th February 2021, 7:00 am

Previous guidance had indicated that asthma sufferers who used steroid inhalers would be eligible for priority vaccination.

However, they have now been deemed not to be at an increased risk of death from Covid-19, with ministers confirming that only severe asthma patients who are formally shielding, regularly take steroid tablets or have ever had an emergency hospital admission are on the priority list.

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Sheffield asthma sufferers left confused after Government changes Covid vaccine ...

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Only patients with severe asthma will now be prioritised for the Covid vaccine

One asthmatic from Sheffield, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was lucky to get the vaccine through her workplace but feels for those who will no longer be prioritised.

She said: “I had some nasty reactions to preventative inhalers so can only take the steroid one when I have an attack. During the first lockdown I spoke to my GP who advised me to shield as much as possible.

"As I'm a receptionist at the hospital I wasn't able to work from home, so I've been limiting my time outside to just home and the hospital, getting my partner to do the shopping etc.”

When the vaccine was announced, the woman says she was told she would be vaccinated some time after the over 70’s but given her asthma she’d be ‘guaranteed’ one by late December early January as her job had bumped her up the list.

But, staff vaccines were then cut back and after speaking with her GP she was told she was no longer a priority because she could not shield and ‘only’ had a steroid inhaler.

She added: "By sheer luck the hospital had some vaccines that were about to go off and my team were offered them. I can't stress how lucky I am, but the U-turn on what asthmatics were promised is honestly heartbreaking.

"I keep thinking about how if I weren't in this job or even if I was on a different shift that night I might not have got one.

"When I think of what would happen if I catch it I'm terrified, if I end up on a ventilator there's a decent chance I won't come off it, and the only reason I got a vaccine was out of luck. That's what really scares me.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.