AFTER many dark days the vaccine roll-out has been the light we all need.
It has been staggering to watch more and more people getting their jabs – each one is another step in the right direction. I am in awe of my NHS colleagues once again.
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It’s thanks to them that it has been such a success. So far we have given around 15 million vaccinations.
When the Government set the target of protecting 13million people by today, February 15, it seemed ridiculous.
But it is just proof that when you give a job like this to the NHS, it gets done. The good news is that now the majority of people aged over 70 and in the clinically extremely vulnerable group have had their first dose, we can start to roll it out to more people.
Chances are by now you are familiar with the priority groups set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The list prioritises the population based on age and underlying health conditions.
It’s designed to make sure the people at greatest risk of dying or suffering severe Covid are vaccinated first.
Unless your BMI is recorded on your GP records there is a chance that you might be missed off the list when it comes to Covid jab appointments.
So far, the NHS has been focused on the top four groups: The over-85s and care home residents and carers, those over 80 and NHS workers, the over-75s and over-70s as well as those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.
These groups account for 88 per cent of Covid deaths, so protecting them will play a crucial role in saving lives and protecting the NHS. The next stage will see vaccines rolled out to priority groups five to nine.
First up it will be those aged over 65, then people aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions that increase their risk of severe Covid and death, then it’s the over-60s, over-55s and the over-50s.
The Government has said it hopes all those in these nine groups will have had their first jab by the end of April. So how will you know when it’s your turn?
The short answer is the NHS will get in touch with you. In most cases you won’t have to do anything, but there is one thing that is worth knowing.
Group six is those with underlying health conditions. It includes people who have blood cancer, diabetes, dementia, a heart problem, chest problems, kidney and liver disease as well as severe mental illness.
Those who have lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, neurological or muscle-wasting conditions, problems with the spleen and people who have had an organ transplant and those who’ve suffered a stroke are also included in priority group six.
The chances are if you have any of these conditions your GP will know about it, so you will get your call-up.
But this group also includes people who are seriously overweight, those with a BMI over 40 or above.
Unless your BMI is recorded on your GP records there is a chance that you might be missed off the list when it comes to Covid jab appointments. It’s nothing to feel ashamed or worried about, it is just important that if you do think your BMI is in that range you contact your GP.
That’s because in July, Public Health England estimated that having a BMI of 35 to 40 increases a person’s risk of dying from Covid by 40 per cent. For those with a BMI of 40 or higher, the risk of dying was 90 per cent.
If you’re not sure what your BMI is, don’t worry – there are a couple of easy ways to check. If you know your height and weight you can use the online NHS calculator at nhs.uk.
And there’s another simple test that can help give you a clue. If you take a piece of string and measure your height, then fold it in half and check if it fits around your waist.
If it doesn’t, it means you could be a greater risk of obesity and should get your weight checked by your GP.
If it turns out that your BMI does fall in the category of 40 and above, it means your GP can then make a note and make sure you get your Covid jab sooner rather than later.
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