Adults over 16 who live with immunosuppressed adults who have not yet been invited to book their Covid-19 vaccine are to be prioritised for the jab.
Immunosuppressed adults can be those with blood cancer, HIV or are having immunosuppressive treatment such as chemotherapy. These adults have a weaker immune system and so are less able to fight infections naturally, meaning a Covid-19 infection could lead to poorer outcomes. There is also some evidence that suggests these people may not respond as well to the Covid-19 vaccine as others.
However, there is also growing evidence that Covid-19 vaccines may reduce the chance of someone who has been vaccinated passing the virus on, which has led to this JCVI recommendation.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 Immunisation within the JCVI, said: "The vaccination programme has so far seen high vaccine uptake and very encouraging results on infection rates, hospitalisations and mortality. Yet we know that the vaccine isn’t as effective in those who are immunosuppressed.
"Our latest advice will help reduce the risk of infection in those who may not be able to fully benefit from being vaccinated themselves."
Household contacts considered as a priority would be those over 16 who share living accommodation with adults who are immunosuppressed.
The JCVI does not currently advise vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed children, or household contacts of immunosuppressed adults who are themselves children.
In figures published yesterday, March 29, it was revealed that across the East of England a total of 3,108,937 first doses of the vaccine had been administered. The second dose figure for the region was 291,393.