How do I get a COVID jab sooner rather than later - NRAS


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How do I get a COVID jab sooner rather than later

DebsnAlf profile image

I’ve been reading a lot of posts about people who have had their jab and wondering what other health problems people have (other than RA of course) that made them eligible for the COVID jab.

I am 48. I have RA on mtx injection, also have Fibromyalgia, OA, I’m Astmatic but only affects me when I catch a cold or similar when I usually have to be hospitalised. My husband has lung problems so received the government’s letter telling him to shield at every lockdown but I didn’t, my gp said last year that I wasn’t classed as being vulnerable to COVID. Hubby just got back from having his jab.

25 Replies

The first question is whether you are over 75? As that is the major risk for severe Covid, and therefor a priority for a vaccine.

After that it really depends on your individual factors. MTX alone is not seem as increasing risk, and in fact current analysis shows it may have a protective function! Neither is asthma considered a comorbidity unless very serious. So thinks like heart disease, pulmonary fibrosis and so on. I believe being morbidly obese is also included.

Here is the risk guidance:

I have a mild heart condition and lung problems, plus being on two immune suppressing drugs.

But with the speed of the vaccine programme I don’t think it will be that long to wait!

Depending on your age you can now call 119 and they will arrange for you to get vaccinated.

For me my GP made the decision based on my medical conditions whether I was clinically extremely vulnerable or not, which is the group being vaccinated at present. The other consideration is are you registered with your gp or council as your husbands unpaid carer as these groups are being vaccinated in level 6. But it's going quickly and more vaccines should be passed quite soon ( the johnson and Johnson and Novavax) which should speed things up even more hopefully x good luck, hope you get answers

I am 56, on MTX, no other health problems & BMI of 21 (not obese). My GP put me on the shielding CEV list last March when my white blood cells dropped and I had to stop MTX for a couple of weeks. The Rheumatologist told me I did not need to shield last September over a phone call appointment! It seems to be pot luck which category you get put into.

I received a text message to book an appointment for the jab which I had last Thursday, 4th Feb. Yesterday, I received an NHS letter, dated 4th Feb., but received on 10th Feb. inviting me to book both jabs. I went online but, as I have already had my first dose I now cannot use this service to book the second jab. Joined up thinking?!

Hope you get some contact soon.

Category 4 includes those who are shielded or CEV, vaccinations by mid Feb, and Category 6 includes those with underlying health issues, vaccinations by end of March (I think). The information and categories are available online.

RA is considered to be an ‘at risk’ condition according to the gov vaccine priority groups - ie group 6 which is after those aged 65-70 and before those aged 60-65. All those 18-65 in the at risk catagory should therefore be invited soon. Link

Hi if in uk and your over 70 you can book a test now no questions asked you phone and book a vaccine,

If not

I would say you may be in group 6

Im pretty sure group 6 will be finished in next 2 weeks max end of feb

In some areas group 6 has started

I’m in the CEV group: I’m 37, taking mtx and leflunomide, but my arthritis is not under control, and I’ve had a few courses of steroids over the last 12 months, one of them lasting 4 months. I have a metabolic syndrome that requires diabetes medication to manage issues with insulin and blood sugar (although not actually diabetic). I have arrhythmias and unexplained, rapidly increasing high cholesterol. I have a currently undiagnosed but (hopefully) non-malignant source of severe abdominal pain. I also have neurological problems as the result of a congenital malformation of my brain and skull that required 2 brain surgeries in my 20s. Someone else has given you the rheumatology link as to who is considered CEV, but in my case, my medication, plus the fact my arthritis is poorly controlled, plus my insulin and blood sugar issues, put me in to the category of CEV due to being on 2 of a list of DMARDs AND having another comorbidity. None of my other issues factor in.

Fibromyalgia and OA don’t really feature in discussions about clinical vulnerability in relation to covid, as they’re not known to increase the risk. Asthma puts you into the clinically vulnerable group (so priority group 6 for vaccination), but you need to have severe asthma to be considered CEV. Severe asthma is defined as asthma only controlled by high dose inhaled steroids, plus a long acting beta2 -agonist, and/or systemic steroids, and/or leukotriene receptor treatment (like montelukast), and/or theophylline, or where a patient is receiving these treatments but remains uncontrolled. At the speed vaccination is currently happening, though, most areas will be vaccinating groups 5 and 6 very soon anyway, meaning if the government targets are accurate, you’ll probably be vaccinated by the end of March.

allanah profile image
allanah in reply to Charlie_G

I'm glad you put the specific on asthma , as you correctly pointed out it's not asthma as a group just some of the higher levels of treatment

Charlie_G profile image
Charlie_G in reply to allanah

I think a lot of the confusion around who should shield stems from CV and CEV being used rather than two more distinct, separate terms, and the lack of widespread detail about the criteria. Like with the asthma detail, you can find it online, but you do have to look quite hard for it. Even asthma uk don’t actually give the clinical distinction to help people understand if they are CEV or not. But then access to the rheumatology information isn’t that much better, so 🤷‍♂️ Would make much more sense to me to have all the clinical criteria readily accessible, ideally in one place, so that patients can clearly see if they need to shield as the result of a specific condition and the treatment they’re receiving.

allanah profile image
allanah in reply to Charlie_G

Totally agree and I like your information , thank you .

Hello. I have Palma plantar psoriasis, OA and mild asthma on MTX injections and am classed as CEV have already had first vaccine end of January, shielding atm. Check with your GP or consultant. I have also had myocarditis in the past. Good luck. 😉

Hi.. I would have expected you to be CEV and shielding due to the MTX which is an immunosupression... check this .. all the best..

helixhelix profile image
helixhelix in reply to RUSTY750

I think better to go to horse’s mouth and use government and reputable organisations sources, here:

If it helps you to be classed as CEV then use it, but the evidence is now that MTX protects you rather than increasing your risk.

Charlie_G profile image
Charlie_G in reply to RUSTY750

Mtx on its own does not class people as CEV unless being taken for the treatment of cancer. This is because the doses used in RD are miniscule by comparison, and as Helix says, there is now evidence that mtx at RD doses is a protective factor against covid, rather than a risk. The British Society for Rheumatology have come up with definitive criteria as to who is at higher risk as a result of their treatment that reflects this:

If you don’t cleanly fall into one of the brackets outlined in the table, there is also a corresponding points system to help determine which vulnerability bracket a patient fits in to by looking at what medication they take and any other comorbidities. This works on the basis of anyone scoring 3 points or more being CEV and should be advised to shield. Like most of the DMARDs and biologics, mtx use is only worth one point, versus an immediate 3 points for anyone taking pred at a dose of 20mg a day or greater.

Table documenting points system for establishing covid risk in rheumatology patients.

It is frustrating. I have friends without any medical problems who already have had their shots. I have requested many sites for an appointment without success. I’ve got all my medical problems and I’m over 75. I’m in the US and still waiting.

Ajay575 profile image
Ajay575 in reply to BonnieG123

Different countries are doing it different It is frustrating for you

In uk you would have had it

Or just phone and book now

Hope you get the jab soon

Deeb1764 profile image
Deeb1764 in reply to Ajay575

Have you had yours yet? I am still waiting but still shielding so not too worried yet it will be when it will be.

Ajay575 profile image
Ajay575 in reply to Deeb1764

No im group 6 Probaly 2 weeks or 3 weeks

You should have had yours by now

Group 4 over 70s have to phone if not heard and not got appointment and will be given 1 there and then sheilded in same group but they said over 70 ? To phone hopefully you get yours in the next 4 days 15th there are cases gps not contacting sheilded

Deeb1764 profile image
Deeb1764 in reply to Ajay575

No I wont be in the next 4 days as there is an issue with my grouping and the GP surgery trying to sort the admin as in the aged 50 group and showing as not CEV though RA and GP have stated I am and had letters etc.I think for some it is their paperwork grading right but also where you live too.

Ajay575 profile image
Ajay575 in reply to Deeb1764

That seems regular issiues with some of the posts being similar to yourself ,The sheilding letter should have been enough ,

Government desperate too to move on to the other groups too quick

Still 2 million to be done too

Hopefully soon and sorted

BonnieG123 profile image
BonnieG123 in reply to Ajay575

Thank you!

Deeb1764 profile image
Deeb1764 in reply to BonnieG123

Hi Bonnie I checked in with my USA family and many states they were telling me are still setting things u and not even started basic roll out. One sent me this article maybe you can look at too. It will such a huge undertaking there.

I have RA, asthma and bronchiectasis ( a lung disease), I got DEB status and therefore my vaccine due to the combination of RD meds and meds for the lung issues. It does feel a bit hit and miss, my rheumatology team said the RA meds didn't qualify, but after a conversation with my GP they decided adding in the steroid inhaler and other meds made the difference, a bit like totting up points to qualify 😅. I hope you get yours soon.

I have bilateral brochiecstasis and asthma, with acid reflux and arthritis, i am over 70 and received my vaccination in January. My partner is 76 and received his last week. I think age is a huge factor but also to be defined as clinically extreme, i agree this can be a bit strange, i think my consultant was asked, and it depends on your level of medication and the type, but i am really not sure, hope you are contacted soon!

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