Russell Fleming, Content Manager, ME Association
We were contacted this week by a supporter who had fought very hard to try and get ME/CFS recognised as a neurological condition and eligible for priority Covid-19 vaccinations.
She had been in touch with her GP, CCG, MP, health watch Liverpool, and NHS England and was seemingly getting nowhere, despite using the information contained in the ME Association’s template letters.
Then the following email was received from the CCG and a specific answer addressing ME/CFS was included on their website. She has now had her first dose of the vaccine.
Email from Liverpool CCG (Extracts)
“ME/CFS is not specifically listed on the conditions included in the JCVI guidelines however it is classified by the World Health Organisation and NHS England as a neurological disease.
“As a result, the group (other than relevant age cohorts) in which we can include people with ME/CFS is cohort 6.
“In order to be included on this list a patient needs to added by their GP after a discussion that concludes the individual is at risk.
“This assessment should be holistic and take into consideration all factors that increase risk of death or serious illness if the individual contracted Covid-19.
“We are not able to make that decision at a CCG level however I can confirm that GPs in Liverpool CCG can place people with ME/CFS in JCVI Group 6 based on their clinical and professional judgement.”
This response was seen as more positive and encompassing than the answer which appears on the Liverpool CCG website FAQs (scroll to the bottom of that page):
I have ME – when will I get the vaccine?
“The vaccination programme continues to prioritise people most clinically at risk from Covid, and broadly speaking patients with ME/CFS do not come under the current criteria for underlying health conditions. However, some patients with ME who have more severe or additional health problems may be included.
“If you don’t receive an invitation in the next few weeks but think you should be included in this group, you can contact your GP practice to discuss your level of risk and whether you should be included. This is a decision for each patient’s own GP to make by applying their clinical judgement, on a case-by-case basis.”