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01 April 2021

Psoriasis and COVID-19 vaccine priority groups

Clarification on first phase priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination. This includes updated advice for adults living with adults who are severely immunosuppressed.

Recently we have received a number of queries about whether having a diagnosis of psoriasis puts an individual in priority group 6 (Adults aged 16 to 65 years in at at-risk group) for COVID-19 vaccination. Publications in December 2020 from Public Health England including posters and leaflets, listed psoriasis as one of the conditions that did put an individual into an ‘at-risk’ group. However, this was inconsistent with information which had been given to people with psoriasis since the beginning of the pandemic. As such, we contacted Public Health England for clarification.

On 27th January 2021, Public Health England clarified that people with psoriasis will only fall into priority group 6 (Adults aged 16 to 65 years in at at-risk group) for COVID-19 vaccination if they are taking a long term immunosuppressive treatment (i.e. a systemic or biologic medication). People who have a diagnosis of psoriasis but are not taking an immunosuppressive treatment and do not have any other conditions which would put them at higher risk, will not fall into this group and will be contacted about receiving their vaccination based on the same factors as the general population.

This update is in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The Greenbook (the guide that doctors use when deciding who needs a vaccine and when) has been updated accordingly – please see the section on ‘immunosuppression’ - page 11 of the Greenbook chapter 14a.

To confirm this, Public Health England has now published a new version of the vaccination priority groups poster with updated wording regarding people with psoriasis to reflect this clarification. This poster is dated 27th January 2021. Please refer to the details on this poster ahead of any other literature you may have received which was published before this date.

If you are in the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' group and have been shielding, due to the combination of immunosuppressive or biologic medicines you receive for your psoriasis, or because you have a medical condition on this list, you will fall into priority group 4 for COVID-19 vaccination. If you are in this group, you should already have been invited to receive the vaccine.

Update - Advice for adults living with adults who are severely immunosuppressed (29th March 2021)

As of 29th March 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that adults living with adults (over 16 years of age) who are severely immunosuppressed should be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine alongside priority group 6 in phase one of the vaccination programme. This will help limit the spread of the virus to immunosuppressed adults.

As the Government has asked NHS England to implement this advice from the JCVI, this means that adults who are living with adults who are taking long term immunosuppressive treatments for their psoriasis will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This advice has also been shared with the other nations of the UK.

Household contacts considered as a priority would be those over 16 who share living accommodation with adults who are immunosuppressed on most days, and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable. The JCVI does not currently advise vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed children, or household contacts of immunosuppressed adults who are themselves children.

The process for vaccinating adult household contacts of severely immunosuppressed individuals in England will work as follows:

  • GP practices are being asked to identify individuals on their registered patient lists who fall into the Green Book definition of severely immunosuppressed - please see the section on ‘immunosuppression’ - page 11 of the Greenbook chapter 14a (this includes 'people with psoriasis who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments').
  • GP practices should then write to inform these severely immunosuppressed individuals that their adult household contacts are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Once contacted, severely immunosuppressed individuals should let their adult household contacts know that they are eligible for vaccination and that they should contact their registered GP practice.
  • Adult household contacts should then contact their registered GP practice to book their vaccination. Upon arrival for their vaccination appointment, they will need to use the letter, together with their own proof of address, which must match that of the immunosuppressed individual, to provide evidence of eligibility for vaccination.

As a reminder, whichever priority group you fall into, the NHS will contact you directly when it is your turn to be offered the vaccine. If you are not eligible yet, please wait to be contacted. Letters are being sent out every week – you may not receive your letter straight away.

If you have any further questions about psoriasis and COVID-19 vaccination, please contact our helpline.

For more information relating to COVID-19 and psoriasis, please visit our COVID-19 information hub.

Please note, this content was first posted on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 and last updated on Thursday 1st April 2021.