COVID-19 vaccination among the CF population in Wales

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“The uptake on the vaccine from people with CF is encouraging – and a step in the right direction”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become clear that getting up-to-date and accurate information helps people make decisions.

That’s why we’re working closely with the Population Data Science team at Swansea University. In this project, we’re bringing you near real-time data about the COVID-19 vaccination among people with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Wales.

We’re doing this by using the SAIL (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage) Databank, which is a world-class safe and secure space for research called a trusted research environment (TRE), mostly focused on people in Wales.

This information shows us that there’s been a very high uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine by people with CF, which is great news.

Mathew Cochrane, 34, who has CF and receives care from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “The report makes for good reading. I feel it’s very positive towards the CF community, the uptake on the vaccine from people with CF is encouraging and hopefully a step in the right direction for a return to some normality.”

What does the report show?

Vaccine chart

COVID-19 vaccine uptake

There are just over 350 people with CF living in Wales, registered with the UK Cystic Fibrosis Registry, who are entitled to the COVID-19 vaccine. 91% of those people received at least one jab by the 16 July 2021 and 88% have received their second dose.

This means 9% of those with CF in Wales haven’t had a jab. This could be due to a few different reasons, such as choosing to opt out, or because they can’t medically receive the vaccine.

Vaccination type

In Wales, 73% of people with CF receiving a COVID-19 jab had Oxford-AstraZeneca. The other 27% had Pfizer-BioNTech.

Vaccination location

People had their first jabs at the following places:

  • 57.6% at their GP
  • 36.7% at a mass vaccination centre
  • 5.7% somewhere else, including their CF Centre or a location in England

Most people had their second jab at the same place as their first, so the numbers for the second dose are very similar.

Vaccine chart gender

Gender differences

Of those who have had at least one jab, 56.5% are men and 43.5% are women, which is the same as the overall gender split across the CF population in Wales.

Age differences

Of those with CF who have had at least one jab:

  • 48.5% are 16-29
  • 51.5% are 30 and over

This is roughly in line with the overall CF population.

Deprivation

We know that living in poverty negatively impacts health in people with CF.

So, it’s important to see whether COVID-19 vaccine access may also be affected by factors such as work, education, housing, and community safety.

Based on the data we have, there doesn’t seem to be a link between deprivation and not having the COVID-19 jab.

What does this mean?

People with CF are at higher risk from COVID-19. This means it’s very important for everyone with CF, and the people they live with, to get both jabs as soon as possible.

It’s fantastic that this data shows a high uptake in vaccination from the CF community.

Ashley Akbari, from Swansea University, said, “Building upon our existing relationships with data providers, such as Cystic Fibrosis Trust, is really important to us to identify opportunities to support and collaborate in using data to provide impact and valuable insight.

“Our hope is that others within the existing One Wales collaboration, as well as any others who wish to access these data in SAIL, can use them in the future to evaluate short and long-term outcomes related to COVID-19 for people with cystic fibrosis.”

Stuart Bedston, from Swansea University, said: “In this report, we have used near real-time data, allowing us to provide details on uptake in order to demonstrate that the vaccine rollout programme in Wales has largely been effective, which echoes the findings for other studies on the wider Wales programme as a whole.”

Jamie Duckers, from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said, “Having access to such comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date data is invaluable to the healthcare team providing care for people living with cystic fibrosis across Wales.”

What’s next?

We’re looking forward to continuing to work with experts across the UK to draw insights from data to support a Life Unlimited for people with CF.

Everyone included in the study consented to participate in the UK CF Registry through their CF team. People with CF are also involved with reviewing requests for use of the UK CF Registry data. This means involvement from people in the CF community has been at the heart of this project.

We’re going to carry on working with Swansea University to monitor what’s going on in Wales so we can keep the CF community updated. We’ll also continue collecting detailed information on the health, COVID-19 outcomes and COVID-19 vaccination status of everyone with CF.

Swansea University and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust are both partners of the BREATHE Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health. We’re working together to link UK CF Registry data to NHS information that covers the whole of the UK, so that we can draw more insights for everyone with CF.

To read more about the work the Cystic Fibrosis Trust is doing to monitor COVID-19 infection in people with CF, click here.

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