Pulmonary fibrosis patients should be given priority in COVID-19 vaccination programmes: A Joint Statement
The European Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis & Related Disorders Federation (EU-IPFF) and the European Reference Network on Rare Respiratory Diseases (ERN-Lung) represent interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients across Europe, including those with the subtype of lung scarring diseases, pulmonary fibrosis, and health care professionals across Europe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on people and health systems. Now that vaccines are becoming available, it is important that governments and healthcare systems give priority to the most vulnerable citizens and vaccinate them as soon as possible.
Patients living with interstitial lung diseases and with pulmonary fibrosis, in particular, are among the most vulnerable and highest risk populations during this health crisis. Recent research shows they are 60% more likely to die if hospitalised with COVID-19 than their peers. They should therefore be given priority within the roll out of national vaccination programmes.
We therefore welcome the fact that many governments recognise the vulnerability of pulmonary fibrosis patients and we call on governments across Europe to give priority access to COVID-19 vaccination programmes topatients living with interstitial lung diseases and especially those with pulmonary fibrosis.
The UK, Public Health England (PHE) recently released provisional guidance for the use of the COVID-19 vaccines to protect those who are at highest risk from serious illness and death. In that guidance, Chapter 14a explicitly lists patients with “interstitial lung fibrosis“ as “clinical risk groups …..who should be offered COVID-19 immunisation”. Similar recommendations have been made in other countries.
We therefore urge that governments across Europe recognise the higher risk of mortality faced by interstitial lung disease patients, especially pulmonary fibrosis patients, and give them priority within COVID-19 vaccination programmes.
Steve Jones, President, EU-IPFF, Dr Anne-Marie Russell, Chair Scientific Advisory Board, EU-IPFF, Prof. Dr Michael Kreuter, ERN-Lung (ILD Network)
Signatories & Co-signatories
EU-IPFF Executive Board Members
Steve Jones, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis, United Kingdom
Liam Galvin, Irish Lung Fibrosis Association, Ireland
Jean Michelle Fourrier, APEFPI Fibrose Pulmonaire Idiopathique, France
Ralph van Lysebeth, Belgische vereniging voor longfibrose, Belgium
Klaus Geißler, Lungenfibrose e.V. Germany
Stefano Pavanello, Unione Trapianti Polmone Di Padova, Italy
Radostina Getova, IPF Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Isabel Saraiva, Respira, Portugal
EU-IPFF Scientific Advisory Board Chair and Vice-Chair
Dr. Anne-Marie Russell, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Dr. Francesco Bonella, Ruhrlandklinik Medical Faculty, Duisburg-Essen University, Germany
ERN-Lung ILD Core Network Co-Chairs
Dr. Antje Prasse, Hannover School of Medicine, Germany
Prof. Michael Kreuter, University of Heidelberg, Germany
ERN-Lung Chair of Cross-Border Education
Dr Marlies Wijsenbeek, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands
About the EU-IPFF
The European Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Related Disorders Federation (EU-IPFF) is a non-profit organization that brings together European national patient associations committed to defending their vision of equal access to treatment and care for all pulmonary fibrosis (PF) patients, regardless of geography, ethnicity, socio-economic status or age.
About the ERN-Lung
ERN-Lung is a patient-centric network of European health care providers and patient organisations, committed Europe-wide and globally to reducing morbidity and mortality from rare lung diseases in people of all ages through patient care, advocacy, education, research and knowledge sharing.
More information www.ern-lung.eu