People at very high risk from coronavirus, who were made to shield during the pandemic, have been given the same priority as the over 70s to receive a vaccine.
The provisional vaccine priority list published by Public Health England has placed people aged 18 or older who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable in the same priority group as those aged 70 and over.
It means people with conditions such as blood, bone or lung cancer, chronic kidney disease and Down’s Syndrome have been placed in priority group four of nine.
Gemma Peters, chief executive of charity Blood Cancer UK, said: “This is extremely good news.
“Putting people with blood cancer at the same priority level as those aged over 70 better reflects the fact that they are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.”
She added: “Any vaccine might not work as well in people with blood cancer, so vaccinating the people around them is a vital part of protecting them.
“We are very grateful to the Government for having listened to the voices of people with blood cancer and other health conditions on this.
“It is also important to remember that this is not definitely the final priority list.
“No vaccines have been approved yet, and we’re waiting for confirmation that any vaccine will be safe and effective for people with blood cancer.”
The updated list, which is subject to Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval of vaccine supply, also lists the conditions that fall in priority group six for at-risk adults aged 18 to 65.
These include diabetes, chronic heart disease and morbid obesity.
The interim guidance, advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), says the order of priority should be:
1. Older adults in a care home and care home workers
2. All those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
3. All those 75 years of age and over
4. All those 70 years of age and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, excluding pregnant women and those under 18 years of age
5. All those 65 years of age and over
6. Adults aged 18 to 65 years in an at-risk group
7. All those aged 60 and over
8. All those 55 and over
9. All those aged 50 and over