Coronavirus: Latest Update

Updated: 9/5/22

Spring 2022 Booster Programme

On 21st February 2022, the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised a fourth vaccination against COVID-19 for individuals at highest risk of severe COVID-19. This extra spring dose should be given to people who fall into one of these three categories;

  • adults aged 75 years or over
  • residents in a care home for older adults, and
  • individuals who are 12 years or over who are severely immunosuppressed.

This means that many patients who were previously classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) will not be offered an additional booster at this time. It is therefore not expected that patients with mitochondrial disease will be eligible for the spring booster dose, although some individual patients may fall under one of the 3 categories mentioned above.

Access to free Lateral Flow Tests across the United Kingdom

Guidance around who can access free lateral flow tests has recently changed, and there are now differences across the four nations of the UK;

England and Scotland

In England and Scotland, access to widespread free lateral flow and PCR testing for COVID-19 has ended. Most people in England and Scotland no longer need to take a coronavirus test even if they have symptoms and should follow guidance on staying home if unwell. However, there are a small number of patients who are classed as being at highest risk of catching the virus and qualify for free testing. Further information can be found below.

Wales and Northern Ireland

In Wales and Northern Ireland, widespread asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing has ended, and PCR testing sites have now closed. However, patients with symptoms, as well as those who do not have symptoms but are classed as being at high risk of catching COVID-19, are still able to order free tests online.

Patients who are highest risk of catching COVID-19

There are a small number of patients who are deemed to be of highest risk of catching COVID-19 due to having a weakened immune system. These patients will be able to access free lateral flow testing and will be prioritised for new treatments.

Each of the nations have produced country-specific guidance, which can be found here;

For England:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk/covid-19-guidance-for-people-whose-immune-system-means-they-are-at-higher-risk

For Scotland:

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-treatments/

For Wales:

https://gov.wales/covid-19-treatments#:~:text=People%20aged%20over%2050%20or,speed%20up%20recovery

For Northern Ireland:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/treatments-coronavirus-covid-19#:~:text=becoming%20seriously%20ill.-,Who%20can%20have%20these%20new%20COVID%2D19%20treatments,risk%20of%20getting%20seriously%20ill.

Please be advised that this list does not include all patients who were previously classed as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ or at ‘Highest Risk’ of catching COVID-19 and advised to shield at the beginning of the pandemic. This means that in England and Scotland, not all mito patients will now automatically be eligible for free lateral flow testing, unless they fall into one of the categories listed above.

How to access free lateral flow testing

Patients with mitochondrial disease who believe that they qualify for free testing can order lateral flow tests online through this link; https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

If you believe that you or a family member with mito should be eligible for free testing, but after following the link find that you/ your family member are not eligible, we would recommend checking with your GP or mito specialist to get their advice/opinion.

For further information

Please be aware that COVID-19 guidance is regularly updated. For specific guidance related to each of the four nations, please visit the appropriate webpage:

England – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Scotland- https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

Wales – https://gov.wales/coronavirus

Northern Ireland –  https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19

Facebooktwitteryoutube