Booster programme battle for high-risk patients

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Booster programme battle for high-risk patients
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Booster programme battle for high-risk patients. One transplant patient has spoken out over his fear of catching Covid as booster programs cause confusion.

Steve Richardson is a transplant patient who has spent most of the pandemic inside his house for fear of catching Covid. Steve is 38 and had suffered from kidney failure. Fortunately, in December he finally got a transplant after a 10-month wait. He is now on drugs to ensure that his new kidney is not rejected. The drugs though affect his immune system and this means that his Covid vaccines are ineffective.

Steve is not alone. Many high-risk Brits with health conditions are left with few Covid fighting antibodies even after they have been fully vaccinated. The government in a bid to protect these people announced a “third primary dose” of coronavirus vaccines.

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The third dose has been proven to give many vulnerable people a fighting chance against the virus. A third jab would also allow Steve to begin a normal life.

According to multiple charities, there has been some confusion over this third primary dose and the booster programme for over-50s.

Dr Michelle Willicombe, transplant lead at Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust and an immunology researcher spoke of the confusion and its effect on vulnerable patients.


Willicombe explained: “There is a large group of highest-risk patients who we now know need three doses of the vaccine, not two, in order to mount an immune response. Unfortunately it seems the message has got confused by the introduction of the booster programme.”

According to Fiona Loud, policy director at Kidney Care UK: “Last week we had about 500 calls from people struggling to access their third jab,

“Everyone is saying the same thing: help, my GP hasn’t heard about the third primary dose.”


Steve is fighting hard to get his third primary dose. He has been battling with his GP along with hospital staff too. Steve commented: “They pretty much all said, ‘Sorry, we don’t know what you’re on about’ and batted us around between the hospital and the GP.”


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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