Joint charity statement on Covid-19 vaccine
January 13, 2021
For up-to-date information on the vaccine, including a template letter highlighting that M.E. is an underlying neurological condition that should be in priority group 6, please visit our dedicated vaccine information page.
Many people with M.E. have contacted Action for M.E. and other M.E. charities for information about the Covid-19 vaccine. We thought it would be helpful to have an aligned position across charities to avoid adding to any confusion and anxiety about having the vaccine.
The 25% M.E. Group, Action for M.E. and the ME Association have collaborated to agree a joint statement for Forward ME, the coalition of charities led by the Countess of Mar. You can also read it on our vaccine information page. In summary:
- We have no data from clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines specifically relating to M.E./CFS.
- This means that vaccination must be an individual decision based on a clear understanding of the risks and benefits associated with it.
- While it is possible there might be a minor reaction to the vaccine, this will almost certainly be much less severe than catching Covid 19 itself, particularly for those severely affected.
- Potential risks associated with having the Covid-19 vaccine include exacerbation of symptoms and, for a very small number of people, an allergic reaction.
Priority group 6 as listed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) includes people with “underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.” The main risk groups identified by the committee include “chronic neurological disease” and we believe this includes M.E. The ME Association has written to the Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof Chris Witty, to seek confirmation.