As the mass COVID-19 vaccine program rolls out in the United Kingdom, Lung Foundation Australia is urging Australia’s Federal Government to ensure people living with serious lung conditions are on the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available in Australia.
People living with lung cancer, chronic lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and bronchiectasis (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) or a rare disease such as Pulmonary Fibrosis and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Lung Foundation Australia Chair, Professor Christine Jenkins AM, said several million Australians impacted by lung disease or lung cancer were at increased risk of a fatal case of COVID-19.
“When identifying priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, we urge the government to consider prioritising those living with a respiratory illness, those who are immunocompromised, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities who are over-represented when it comes to lung disease,” she said.
“Our community is clearly among those who will continue to be most vulnerable to severe infection and illness from COVID-19.”
In the UK, the government has declared that the “majority” of people with health conditions which put them at higher risk will be vaccinated by February.
Similarly, the Australian Government has initially indicated priority groups for COVID-19 immunisation will include those with pre-existing, underlying medical conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, free call Lung Foundation Australia at 1800 654 301 or visit our website here to access information and resources.