Coronavirus resources & support Will aplastic anaemia patients be able to have the coronavirus vaccine? We understand that information about vaccines is really important to our community, so we’ve created this handy page to give you all of the latest information about Coronavirus vaccines. We will be working closely with our clinical experts to update this information as things develop. Will it be safe for me to be vaccinated against COVID-19? Since early December, three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK by MHRA, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna. All of the vaccines which have been approved are 'inactivated', meaning that they do not contain a live form of the COVID-19 virus. This means that it is not possible to develop COVID-19 as a result of receiving the vaccine. During the approval process, MHRA deemed that all of the vaccines currently available are suitable and safe for people who are immunocompromised. We understand that for people with aplastic anaemia, there is a small risk of relapse associated with all vaccinations, and research is still ongoing into this. The general advice is that the benefit of being vaccinated against COVID-19 outweighs the risk associated with vaccination, however, you should discuss your own circumstances with your medical team. The vaccine is administered intra-muscular, meaning that it is injected into a muscle, which can, in some cases increase the risk of bleeding. In conjunction with the guidance given by PNH Leeds, if your platelet count is below 30, you should seek advice from your medical team. We strongly recommend that you discuss any queries that you may have about vaccinations with your own medical team, who will be expecting your questions. What is the medical advice? This is the latest update from our trustee Professor Judith Marsh, Department of Haematological Medicine at King's College Hospital, on the advice that she and her colleagues at the British Society Haematology plan to publish. At present, no individuals with aplastic anaemia have been involved in COVID-19 vaccine trials, and any references to case reports made below relate to previous vaccine studies unrelated to COVID-19. There are case reports of AA developing post-vaccination, and of recovered AA patients relapsing following vaccine administration. The evidence for this is limited, but we do know that a viral response is likely to be an important trigger in the initial development of aplastic anaemia. In the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic, current ASH COVID-19 and AA guidance is that the risk versus benefit would favour vaccine administration, particularly in those with additional risks for severe COVID-19 disease (age, obesity, other comorbidities associated with increased risk). So far we do not have access to any data on how effective any of the vaccines in development are likely to be in immunosuppressed patients. Those patients within 6 months of ATG/CSA initiation are unlikely to mount an appropriate immune response to a vaccine. Those AA patients remaining on CSA more than 6-12 months post-ATG treatment may respond to a vaccine. Vaccinations may be given after thoroughly considering and balancing risk versus benefit. Post-transplantation AA patients should follow standard post-transplantation guidelines for vaccine administration. These will be updated regarding SARS-CoV-2 vaccines when they become available, extrapolating from recommendations for other vaccines. As you can tell from Professor Marsh's update - there are a number of considerations involved, which is why it is so important to discuss your own case with your medical team, who are the experts on what is the best course of action for you. You can find detailed information on Covid-19 and Stem Cell Transplants, including the latest information on the vaccine, on the Anthony Nolan website here. Priority groups for vaccination On Wednesday 2 December, JCVI, the Joint Council of Vaccination and Immunisation announced changes to the priority order for vaccination. Following these changes, individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are now included in group four, alongside people who are aged 70 or over. You can find the full statement from JCVI about the prioritisation for vaccination here. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers All those 80 years of age and overFrontline health and social care workers All those 75 years of age and over All those 70 years of age and overClinically extremely vulnerable individuals All those 65 years of age and overAll individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying healthconditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease andmortality All those 60 years of age and over All those 55 years of age and over All those 50 years of age and over Many of our community members expressed their concern at the prioritisation given to people with blood disorders such as aplastic anaemia, and we approached the Specialised Healthcare Alliance to share their concerns. It’s important to note that the Department of Health and Social Care has insisted that this is an interim list based on clinical necessity, and although unlikely to change, the Government could eventually deviate from this prioritisation list, owing to other considerations such as logistics and efficacy. You may find it reassuring that Deputy CMO Professor Jonathan Van-Tam recently stated that the time between the elderly, healthcare workers, and the clinically vulnerable in receiving the vaccine would likely be a matter of 2-3 weeks. However, we understand any delay can be frustrating for those who have had to shield and could be exasperated if there are logistical challenges in rolling out a vaccine. James Maxwell, The Specialised Healthcare Alliance How does Covid-19 affect aplastic anaemia patients? Read the latest Coronavirus shielding guidance and find support. Did we answer your questions? Our team are working hard to keep our Coronavirus Resources useful and up to date. If you have a question that isn't answered here, or you have an issue you would like our help with, please email us at [email protected] or call our helpline on +44 (0) 300 102 3202.