We have been given an update on the latest Government guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), particularly immunosuppressed patients.
As you may be aware, shielding was paused on the 1st April, and since then individuals have been able to follow the same guidance as the rest of the population. With restrictions lifting today – 19 July 2021 – for Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap, the Government continues to advise the most vulnerable to think about extra steps they may wish to take to protect themselves. This will be particularly important for those CEV individuals who are immunosuppressed.
Although the vast majority of the population will be well protected by the vaccine, including the clinically extremely vulnerable, no vaccine is 100% effective and there is emerging evidence to suggest that some immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals may not respond as well to the COVID-19 vaccine as others.
Such patients will have been at long-term risk of infectious disease prepandemic, and should in most cases be familiar with making individual risk assessments in consultation with their clinicians to deal with possible encounters with a wide variety of infections, not least influenza and other respiratory viruses. Advice regarding Covid-19 should be considered as part of this ongoing dialogue around general infection risk for those patients.
Click here to read the initial government advice.
It provides an overview of the latest guidance for the CEV, and information we have to date regarding vaccine efficacy and antibody testing and treatments. The Department of Health and Social Care will aim to update advice in September 2021, particularly with regard to booster vaccines and vaccine efficacy study findings.
A summary of the general advice is outlined here:
The Government highlights that those who are CEV may wish to take the following actions:
Consider the risks of close contact with others:
• in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
• in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
• when COVID-19 disease levels are high in the general community
Take steps to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. For example, they could:
• meet outside if possible – the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person
• make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air
• consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after everyone’s second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
• wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
• consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
• asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you
• ask home visitors to wear face coverings This advice will be particularly appropriate to those who are immunosuppressed, especially if they have only received one dose of vaccination, or as a precautionary measure for those who have received both vaccinations, given that research in this area is still underway.
For further information, or for general advice re immunosuppressed people, visit https://patient.info/allergies-blood-immune/immune-system-diseases/immune-suppression#nav-12
Published: Jul 19, 2021