Last updated on March 20th, 2020
We have been contacted many times in the last week by members of the society who are concerned about their long-term condition and Covid-19. We have consulted with some of our research collaborators and can now issue the following advice.
There is no evidence to suggest that patients who have been diagnosed and treated for Pernicious Anaemia will be more susceptible than others to contact the disease. Nor does their treated Pernicious Anaemia mean that they will stand any greater chance of them experiencing a rapid deterioration in their health than any other infected person.
However, there has been no research into this, and consequently no dataset exists about the experience of patients with Pernicious Anaemia with pandemics such as Covid-19. Because some patients are under-treated, it is wise to take every precaution to avoid contracting the disease and as vitamin B12 is essential for the healthy balance of the immune system, it is important to keep your B12 level well maintained.
We have received over numerous telephone calls and emails from patients who have been told that their surgery is no longer providing injections because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
This is extremely worrying for patients who are due, or overdue, their injection and are suffering from the symptoms of B12 Deficiency including some with neurological symptoms.
We have written to all four Ministers for Health of the constituent countries in the UK, as well as their Chief Medical Officers. We have pointed out that injections of B12 for patients with Pernicious Anaemia are not just a supplement but are needed to keep patients alive. Read more here:
Letter to Health Ministers and injections being stopped
And also please see this article for more information: Information for patients whose surgery or health centre has closed or is no longer providing injections due to Covid-19
We recommend everyone follows the NHS and government advice around reducing the risk of picking up infections, including following the latest guidance on avoiding crowded places if this becomes necessary, or coming into contact with the condition.
We recommend everyone follows the NHS and government advice about what to do if they are concerned they have come into contact with someone with the coronavirus.
It is stated that patients with long-term conditions and compromised immune systems will experience more severe symptoms if they contact the disease: “Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease” Patients with Pernicious Anaemia should follow government guidance to prevent contracting the disease. What you need to do depends on your medical situation, age and perhaps other factors. We therefore advise you to contact your doctor with any questions about your personal situation.
Full list of higher risk groups:
People at higher risk include those who are over 70, regardless of whether they have a medical condition or not, and people under 70 with any of the following underlying health conditions:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
Latest Government Guidance
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
There are things you can do to help stop the coronavirus spreading:
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- only travel on public transport if you need to
- work from home, if you can
- avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- avoid events with large groups of people
- use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family
You can find out about the number of people affected and the latest medical information here. To keep up to date with the latest developments take a look at Information for the public Members from outside the U.K. should visit their respective governments’ websites for national developments though the advice above applies to all countries.