Britain’s coronavirus vaccine postcode lottery has been laid bare after a number of celebrities revealed they have already had their first dose.
US singer Courtney Love became the latest star to get the injection today at an NHS clinic in Chelsea, West London. The 56-year-old — whose representatives say has an underlying health condition that makes her eligible — left Los Angeles and relocated to London in the autumn of 2019.
Nigella Lawson claimed her head was ‘in a spin’ at being offered the Covid vaccine on Sunday. The 61-year-old TV chef revealed she had been sent a text message on Valentine’s Day inviting her to book an appointment.
Meanwhile, Ruth Langsford, the 60-year-old This Morning presenter, said she was ‘so grateful’ to receive her first vaccine on Saturday, thanking everyone involved in an Instagram update. And Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don, 65, also praised the NHS after getting his first dose on the same day. It’s not clear whether any of the TV personalities have underlying conditions that would bump them up the queue.
British reality show host Nadia Essex, 39, who has no health issues, is thought to be the youngest celebrity to be offered a vaccine. She revealed she was ‘going for it’ last Thursday after asking her fans for their opinion.
The handful of cases underline the disparity in the speed at which older people are being offered the vaccine in different places across the country. Wales has already began inviting over-50s, while Northern Ireland started offering appointments to over-65s in January.
NHS England only officially moved onto the next stage of the roll-out today, inviting over-65s and adults with underlying conditions. The national guidance up until now was to focus on the four priority groups — over 70s, NHS staff, care home residents and workers, and seriously-ill adults.
But over-60s in some areas leading the way in the vaccine roll-out have already been contacted. NHS bosses say local health teams can make their own way down the list of nine priority groups, so long as they have attempted to reach everyone above them.
Official figures suggest that more than 2million Brits in the top four priority groups have still yet to be vaccinated, despite ministers saying they have all been offered a jab.
Vaccine: Courtney Love has received the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, despite the jab only currently being offered to the vulnerable and those over the age of 65
Nigella is not the only under-60 celebrity to get booked in for their Covid jab, with This Morning’s Ruth Langsford revealing she was vaccinated yesterday
Nigella Lawson has said her ‘head is in a spin’ at being offered the Covid vaccine – ahead of thousands of over-65s elsewhere in the country
Age 39 and no health woes: Reality star Nadia Essex took to Twitter to reveal she had been offered the vaccine already but felt guilty for taking it so soon in the roll-out
British gardening expert Monty Don, 65, received his vaccine on Saturday
What is the difference between the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and the ‘vulnerable’?
Around 1.2million clinically extremely vulnerable adults were included in the first phase of the UK’s Covid vaccine roll-out.
Adults who’ve had organ transplants, are undergoing cancer treatment or have serious lung conditions, such as COPD, are included in the group.
But the other at-risk adults — who make up around 7.3m Brits — are sixth on the vaccine priority list, behind over-65s and the top four groups.
This cohort includes all over-16s with heart disease, diabetes, and kidney or liver diseases. It also includes anyone with a BMI above 40.
WHO ARE THE CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE (HIGH RISK)?
You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
- are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
- are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
- have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
- have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
- have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
- are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
- have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
- have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
- are an adult with Down’s syndrome
- are an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
- have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of your needs
If you’re at high risk from coronavirus, you should have received a letter from the NHS. Speak to your GP or hospital care team if you have not been contacted and think you should have been.
WHO ARE THE CLINICALLY VULNERABLE (MODERATE RISK)?
People at moderate risk from coronavirus include people who:
- are 70 or older
- have a lung condition that’s not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
- have heart disease (such as heart failure)
- have diabetes
- have chronic kidney disease
- have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
- have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
- have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
- are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
- are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)
A large number of these will be people who have refused them, but there are fears the vaccine programme is failing to reach housebound Brits.
Matt Hancock today said uptake of the vaccine so far had been ‘much higher than expected’, with more than 90 per cent of over-70s turning up to their appointments.
No10’s vaccine plan estimates there are around 8.8million Brits in this group, meaning only 7.9million have been jabbed — leaving 900,000 unprotected.
But the Health Secretary also claimed uptake was just two-thirds in social care staff. No10’s vaccine delivery plan says there are around 500,000 care home staff and 1.4million social care workers.
It is not clear whether his uptake figure represented both groups — but it would mean only 1.3million have been jabbed, if he did. Therefore, it would leave around 600,000 unprotected.
In an interview with Sky News, Mr Hancock also revealed uptake was 80 per cent in NHS workers, of whom there are around 2.4million. This would mean another 500,000 have yet to have their first dose.
And he added uptake among the UK’s 300,000 eligible care home residents is around 90 per cent, leaving around 30,000 of them unvaccinated.
But Mr Hancock did not offer an estimated uptake figure for the clinically vulnerable.
Around 1.2million Britons are listed in that group because they have conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.
If uptake was around 80 per cent — the same level for NHS staff, it would mean that around 950,000 have been vaccinated. Therefore, another 250,000 haven’t yet been jabbed.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation drew up the jab priority list based on how vulnerable groups are to dying from Covid.
It’s essential that the vaccine is administered down the list if Britain wants to come out of lockdown because those nearest the top are most likely to be admitted to hospital and pile pressure on the health service.
Asked if the fact only two thirds of care home staff have been vaccinated concerned No10, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: ‘I would point to what the Health Secretary has said this morning, that of course want to drive up the uptake by encouraging people to come forward and receive the vaccine.
‘He said there has been a very high uptake, we have seen so far, I think we have set out some figures previously about the percentages of different groups that have received the vaccine.
‘But of course we want more and more people to come forward and take it and we will be encouraging people to do so.’
Asked if care home staff who are refusing to get the jab are being irresponsible, they added: ‘Again, I think the important thing is for us to continue to encourage them to come forward and take the vaccine which is exactly what we are doing.
‘We are making clear that the vaccines are both safe and effective and as I said it not only provides protection for individuals but for also those who they come into contact with so our focus will be continuing to encourage people to come forward and receive it.’
It came after Courtney Love became the latest celebrity to receive a vaccine ahead of vulnerable Brits.
Despite the jab only officially being offered to the vulnerable and those over the age of 65, the American singer, 56, was able to get hers on the NHS in Chelsea.
The star left Los Angeles to relocate to London in the autumn of 2019 to focus on writing her book and recording a new album and has been UK-based ever since.
A spokesperson for Courtney Love told MailOnline: ‘She has an underlying health condition that makes her eligible. She is extremely grateful to the NHS and all the front line workers.’
Courtney took to Instagram to post a picture of herself in a West London clinic as she received the vaccination on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Nigella Lawson revealed that she had been offered her first dose via a text message on Sunday.
She tweeted: ‘I have just had a beautiful text saying the words I really wanted to hear this Valentine’s: it’s from the NHS and they’re calling me in for my first jab!’
Nigella, who is currently on TV with her show Cook, Eat, Repeat, and lives in London, has no known underlying health conditions.
It came after This Morning presenter and Loose Women panelist Ruth Langsford received her first vaccination on Saturday.
The 60-year-old said she was ‘so grateful’ to receive the jab, thanking everyone involved in an Instagram update.
Ruth revealed she was called early after receiving a message from the NHS. It’s unclear whether or not she has underlying health woes.
Sixty-five-year-old presenter Monty Don was also given his jab on the NHS on Saturday. He praised an ‘immensely impressive service’ in a post on social media.
Meanwhile, British reality star Nadia Essex is the youngest known celebrity to be offered a jab.
The 39-year-old, who has no health issues, was offered an appointment last week.
The Celebs Go Dating host tweeted last Thursday: ‘Just had a stroppy call from my doctors offering the vaccine.
‘When I explained I shouldn’t be this high up the list as no health issues she huffed ‘well you are on our list, do you want it or not!’ I feel bad taking it from someone who needs it though. What to do..?’
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]