There’s no evidence to suggest that people with spinal cord injury (SCI) people are more likely to catch coronavirus. But we know that due to paralysis and a weakened cough reflex, people with SCI who contract the disease are more likely to need acute care. And with a compromised respiratory function, the impact of covid can be life-threatening.
Giving you the best information
Concerned about the effect of coronavirus on you, someone you care for or a loved one? Download our information sheets about conronavirus:
Coronavirus booster vaccination
Under the NHS guidelines, people with spinal cord injury should be considered as a booster vaccination priority. People who have higher level injuries, a suppressed immune system or respiratory issues should be in Group Four whilst all other people with SCI should be in Group Six. However, we are aware that there is continued confusion amongst both people with SCI themselves and healthcare professionals, especially GPs about the need and priority to be given to people with SCI and very much want to offer some clear guidance.
Many people with a spinal cord injury whose age does not place them in a higher group should be prioritised into Group Four – All those 70 years of age and/or clinically extremely vulnerable. The SCI cohort who should be considered clinically extremely vulnerable should include those with:
1.Tetraplegia or high-level paraplegia (T8 and above)
Rationale: Those with high level SCI including those with tetraplegia and high-level paraplegia will have compromised respiratory function resulting in a weakened cough reflex.
2. A compromised immune system
Rationale: Those who acquired SCI through an autoimmune condition i.e Transverse Myelitis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression or Spinal Tumour, may have an impaired or compromised immune system.
All other SCI people should be categorised in Group Six – An underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of disease or mortality for the vaccine.
We’ve produced a letter – to help with this.
Please persevere. It may take a couple of attempts to get past the reception service or automated reply, and we know that GP surgeries are very busy; it’s not about jumping the queue, but instead it is the urgent need to ensure that SCI people can get the booster, in line with their clinical need.
Using our voice: covid and beyond
- We’re working in the corridors of power to give a voice to people with spinal cord injury. Our all party parliamentary group (APPG) is growing in profile and influence.
- Our lobbying team and nursing specialists also work with the NHS and care sector to tackle challenges and ensure people with SCI are being considered at every step.
- Through our support line, we can talk to hospital staff to raise concerns about care and recommend good health care management for patients with SCI (such as the risk of pressure sores).
Our support network coordinators have first-hand experience of living with a spinal cord injury and can help you find the right services for you,