People with severe mental illness are now eligible for a Covid-19 booster and should receive an invitation for the jab, NHS England has said.
It includes individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment.
Their carers – whether professionally or in an unpaid or family carer role – are also eligible, NHS England said and should be encouraged to come forward as soon as possible.
Invites may also come from the National Booking Service via a letter or text message and appointments can be booked online or by calling 119.
GPs have also been asked to keep prioritising people with severe mental illness for Covid vaccination and ‘apply an inclusive approach’ to defining who may be eligible.
For instance, it could include people who are severely unwell with an eating disorder who have a high or low BMI, or a diagnosis of personality disorder, a blog post from Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental health director said.
Anyone who is not sure if they are eligible in this category should speak to their GP, mental health team or visit the NHS website, the announcement said.
During vaccination consideration should be given to any reasonable adjustments to help patients feel at ease.
It comes as the Government has announced a new marketing campaign to encourage people to come forward for flu and Covid vaccinations.
More than 10 million people in England have so far received their Covid autumn booster, NHS England added, but the new campaign will urge ‘millions’ more eligible people to come forward.