MEA writes to CMO about Autumn Covid19 booster

Autumn Covid-19 vaccine booster and ME/CFS – MEA writes to the Chief Medical Officer

Dr Charles Shepherd has written to Prof Whitty to ensure that people with ME/CFS are categorised in the clinically vulnerable group and are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine booster. More on the booster program can be read from the button below and Dr Shepherd's letter is reproduced below

Letter to Prof Whitty

Dear Professor Whitty

Autumn Covid-19 vaccine booster and ME/CFS

You will probably be aware that some health professionals have refused to accept that people with ME/CFS are clinically vulnerable in relation to Covid-19 infection. 
As a result they have not been able to obtain a Covid vaccine when the vaccine is being prioritised for other clinically vulnerable groups.

The ME Association is concerned that this situation will arise again when the autumn booster is made available to the clinically vulnerable group.

The current eligibility criteria for being classed as clinically vulnerable is set out in chapter 14a of the NHS Green Book. This Green Book guidance states that people with chronic neurological disease, and those who have an underlying health condition that could be exacerbated by catching Covid-19, should be regarded as being clinically vulnerable, 

ME/CFS meets both of these Green Book eligibility criteria because:

  1. ME/CFS is classified as a neurological disease by the World Health Organisation and by NHS England
  2. ME/CFS can produce similar effects on quality of life to other chronic neurological conditions such as MS.
  3. Patient evidence collected over the past two years confirms that many people with ME/CFS have suffered a significant and sometimes persisting relapse of their ME/CFS symptoms after catching Covid-19.
  4. The new NICE guideline on ME/CFS (in 1.14.5) states that an acute illness is one of the main causes of relapse of ME/CFS

And there is now research evidence to confirm that a significant proportion of people who catch Covid-19 infection develop a form of Long Covid that meets diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS

We would therefore be grateful if you could issue a clear message to health professionals to confirm that people with ME/CFS form a clinically vulnerable group in relation to Covid-19 infection. 

And that they should therefore qualify for an autumn Covid vaccine booster (and a flu vaccination) if they choose to have one.

Kind regards

Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, MEA

Dr Nina Muirhead – Co Chair, DHSC Working Group on Education
Carol Monaghan MP – Chair, APPG on ME
Sajid Javid MP

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