Initially, as coronavirus vaccines and preventative medicines become available for COVID-19, demand is likely to outstrip supply. A strategy is needed to ensure the people who need it the most are first in line for vaccination and/or treatment.

Advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation suggests that people older than 65 years of age, those in shielding groups, and healthcare workers should be prioritised for vaccination. It is essential that a plan is developed that takes account of the effect of people with other medical conditions (co-morbidities), occupations, and low incomes on COVID-19 severity. People living in poorer areas of the country and with high levels of poverty and low education more likely to be hospitalised and are 1.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19. Physical over-crowding, homelessness, poor air quality, and smoke exposure are also associated with poorer outcomes. Minority ethnic groups and deprived communities living in overcrowded conditions, key workers or high exposure occupations are also at increased risk.

Read more in The Lancet here