Vaccines minister apologises for ‘confusion’ over asthmatics jab prioritisation

Emma Bowden, PA
·1-min read

The vaccines minister has apologised for “any confusion” over when asthma sufferers can expect to be offered a coronavirus jab.

Nadhim Zahawi clarified the vaccination priority groups for asthmatics on Tuesday morning, after previously telling LBC that everyone who uses an inhaler would be in priority group six.

But only people with severe asthma are being prioritised for vaccination, with those who regularly take steroid tablets or have ever had an emergency hospital admission in this category.

Asthma sufferers who received a letter advising them to shield are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and will be vaccinated in priority group four.

Mr Zahawi told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “In category four, those with serious, extremely vulnerable cases of asthma would have been given the first dose in category four.

“Now in category six, if they have oral steroids, then they are in category six.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation looked at the evidence and that’s what we are guided by.

“I apologise if there was any confusion, I certainly don’t want to have any confusion at all.”

Asthma sufferers who do not fall into either of those groups and are under the age of 50 will be vaccinated after the first nine priority groups, according to Asthma UK.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not yet set out plans on who should be vaccinated beyond these groups.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged that all UK adults will be offered a coronavirus vaccine by autumn.