Parkinson’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign: raise PD to Cohort 4 – support our e-petition

We have sent this letter to the Minister for Health and our local TDs. Please help us to get PD patients moved higher up the list for vaccination by signing and circulating our e-petition to your family, friends and anyone who can support us. The more signatures we get the stronger our voice will be. Click here to sign our petition

Dear Minister

We have reviewed the latest changes to the Vaccination Allocation Strategy which has the overall aim to reduce morbidity and mortality, thereby protecting the healthcare system.

We note that new Cohort 4 covers chronic neurological disease or condition with evolving ventilatory failure (requiring non-invasive ventilation), for example: motor neurone disease, spinal muscular atrophy.

Revised Cohort 7 covers chronic neurological disease or condition significantly compromising respiratory function and/or the ability to clear secretions, for example: Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy. Previously Parkinson’s disease had been categorised with motor neurone disease. However, MND has been raised to Cohort 4 while PD remains at Cohort 7.

Parkinson’s Disease is gravely misunderstood and underrepresented in the healthcare system. We believe that PD should be raised to Cohort 4 in line with MND. People living with Parkinson’s experience a wide range of underlying health issue which puts them in a higher risk category. For example, they experience problems swallowing, clearing secretions, difficulty sleeping due to breathing issues, and with long term chronic pain demonstrate a supressed immune system leaving them vulnerable. With early onset Parkinson’s we have a demographic of young people who are of working age with young families and are extremely vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19.

In keeping with new Cohort 4 categorisation for those ‘aged 16-69 and at very high risk of severe COVID-19 disease’ we strongly believe that Parkinson’s Disease should be re-categorised to ensure that people in this very vulnerable group are not hospitalised because in addition to their COVID treatment they will require a higher level of medical intervention thus overwhelming the Healthcare system.

There are approximately 12,000 people in Ireland living with Parkinson’s.  We will be engaging with all local groups throughout Ireland and asking them to lobby their TDs to get Parkinson’s Disease moved into Cohort 4 bringing Ireland into line with the UK and other EU countries.

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