Majority of asthmatics concerned about severe Covid – but 69pc still awaiting jab

A majority of asthma sufferers in Ireland are still unvaccinated, despite fears of severe Covid due to their condition.

esearch carried out by the Asthma Society of Ireland, supported by AstraZeneca revealed that 90 pc of people with asthma would accept a Covid-19 vaccination, yet 69 pc are still unvaccinated.

The study showed that 71pc of participants were most concerned about contracting a severe form of Covid-19 due to their asthma, and 38pc admitted that they have avoided healthcare services during the pandemic due to their respiratory illness. 

As part of Asthma Awareness Week 2021, the study showed that 50 pc of those surveyed said they had suffered an asthma attack in the past year, yet a quarter are avoiding A&E despite experiencing asthma emergencies.

Throughout the pandemic, 380,000 people have been living in Ireland with asthma, and 890,000 people will likely develop the illness during their lifetime. During the pandemic, 36 pc of those surveyed reported experiencing mental health issues due to the prolonged lockdown.

Jenny Curran, who has been in isolation since February 2020 suffers from a rare severe form of Asthma known was ‘Brittle Asthma, and said catching Covid-19 would be a “death sentence”.

Diagnosed at 3 months old, the 28-year-old Wicklow native said asthma is often used as a “fly away term” and more awareness is needed for severe forms of asthma.

Ms Curran “fought for” her vaccine which she received in April after campaigning to be included in Cohort 4 with very high risk people. The majority of those with asthma are currently classified under Cohort 7.

“It’s literally a respiratory disease, I don’t understand why we weren’t all put under cohort 4”, said the severe asthma sufferer.

“I have a long history of having to fight for my right to have certain things given to me medication wise – unfortunately, we need to have our boxing gloves on and be prepared to fight for it”, she said.

Ms Curran said the cohort 4 versus cohort 7 debacle is a “mess” and encourages those with asthma who feel like a “nuisance” or a “hindrance” to fight for their vaccine – “they are very entitled to get it”, she said.

Expecting her second dose in July, Ms Curran said she felt “relief” and “guilt” after receiving her first dose in April. “I wanted everyone who has severe asthma, and down the line regular asthma to get it – I was very aware that I was one of the lucky ones”, she said after “relentless campaigning”.

“I was around strangers for the first time in a year and a bit – I haven’t been to a supermarket since before Christmas” 2020 she said.

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society is urging people to get involved in the Love Your Lungs virtual challenge and sign up to the Love Your Lungs virtual fundraiser running this week.

She said: “For anyone that isn’t able to participate, we’d really welcome that they go along to and click on the donate button – that little bit of support for us goes a long way to ensure that we keep asthma patients safe and eliminate asthma deaths in Ireland”.

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