Are people living with HIV priority in order to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Covid-19 vaccination bottles

COVID-19 vaccines offer effective protection against the COVID-19 disease and especially its severe forms. Because the number of available vaccines is limited in the beginning, they are first offered to people with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease or to those who are being exposed to the virus at work, for example.

Vaccination order for risk groups in Finland. Click here >>

We already know that people living with HIV and on effective antiretroviral treatment (ART) do not appear to be at greater risk of getting COVID-19 or getting its severe forms. Current evidence suggests that HIV is less of a risk factor for severe COVID-19 than other health conditions, such as older age (over 70 years), obesity, diabetes, liver disease, severe asthma, severe heart disease, people undergoing active cancer treatment etc. Based on this information, people living with HIV are not at high-risk group and HIV is not reason for early vaccination. However, people living with HIV should take notice of their other health conditions and risk factors and get vaccinated against COVID-19 according to that vaccination order.

Low current CD4 count is a reason for early vaccination

People living with HIV with CD4 counts below 350 are at high risk group and priority in vaccination order. People living with HIV should consult to their own healthcare professional for more information on COVID-19 vaccination. Municipalities are responsible for arranging and communicating on the COVID-19 vaccinations. According to the vaccination order, vaccines are given at your own local health center, occupational health care or other vaccination point organized by health care.

Even after being vaccinated, it is important to continue to take steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission until the number of the new infections have fallen to a safe level in the area where you live.

Read more, how you can protect yourself, your loved ones and other people from a coronavirus infection >>

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people living with HIV?

Many of the studies of COVID-19 vaccines have had relatively small number of people with HIV involved so far and the length of the time they have been participated the studies is relatively short. For this reason, specific data on people living with HIV and COVID-19 vaccines has not yet been released. The Pfizer study  recruited at least 196 people living with HIV and The Moderna study recruited 176 HIV positive people. There were no unusual safety concerns reported in these studies. As with the general population, for people living with HIV, the vaccines are considered safe. Vaccines help body to develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 – so people who are infected are able to fight it.

Do you need more information? Please, contact Hivpoint phone helpline and chat counselling >>