GMB’s Kate Garraway slams vaccine minister’s ‘confusing’ U-turn on asthmatics
Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway has hit out at vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi MP for his mixed messaging on where asthmatics fare in terms of Covid vulnerability and how high up on the vaccine priority list they are.
People with asthma were initially told they were vulnerable and high up on the priority list for vaccinations, but now the government has said asthmatics is not at increased risk of death.
Kate and her co host Ben Shephard were speaking to Dr Amir Khan on Tuesday’s show, and Ben said: “Nadhim Zahawi was on Iain Dale’s show last night and he seemed to change the parameters of what is the allowable situation if you are suffering from asthma.
“I think originally it was slightly different, if you had been hospitalised or had a continuous use of steroids to increase your asthma, you were in the top nine of seriously vulnerable categories.
“However last night he seemed to change that and suggested that if you use an inhaler you hit the list at number six.”
Dr Amir explained: “It is confusing, and asthma certainly throughout this pandemic has been the long term condition that people are really worried about.
“If you have been shielding because of your asthma or taking oral steroid tablets long term, not inhaled tablets, oral tablets, or have been admitted to hospital in the last 12 months, you are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and you will be prioritised.
“People with mild to moderate, well controlled asthma are not at increased risk of death, are not being prioritised.”
But, he warned: “There is a link that people with asthma may get Covid more readily, and there is a link with long Covid and asthma.”
Kate asked: “How unhelpful is it when you are having people come into your surgery, asking you questions, when the vaccine minister, when he says something different from that?
“What he’s said is, people using inhalers will be in a prioritised category, and not what you described?
“That must make things hard for you.”
Dr Amir replied: “It does, it results in a surge of phone calls with people asking what they should be doing, and there might be people who might be sick and can’t get through on the phone because people are asking questions.
“We do need clarity when it comes to this.”
“Just to be clear, we think [Mr Zahawi] got that wrong, and actually it’s as [Dr Amir] described it,” said Ben.
* Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV at 6am