Coronavirus (Covid-19) Last updated 27/11/2023Please see below generalised Covid-19 Government guidance. We regularly update the page in response to any further announcements or developments. For further information, please call our freephone helpline if you would like to chat to one of our advisers about your concerns - 0800 169 09 36 Contents: Latest information for patients COVID symptoms COVID treatment information Reducing the risk of COVID infection Government guidance Shielding programme ended Working safely information for employers Travel information Webinars further information and support COVID trials and studies NKF facemasks and COVID perspective guidance on home dialysis Latest information for patientsCOVID-19 Lateral Flow TestsPeople who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments in England are now able to collect free lateral flow tests from community pharmacies. This procedure has replaced the previous process of ordering tests online and calling 119. More information can be found via the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/covid-19/treatments-for-covid-19/Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf, for example, a friend, relative or carer. If you do not have a friend, relative or carer who can collect tests for you, you may be able to book a volunteer responder by calling 0808 196 3646. The Kidney Charities Together Group have published a COVID-19 Autumn Booster Guide View hereAutumn COVID-19 BoosterThe following people are eligible for an autumn COVID-19 booster: Residents in a care home for older adults All adults aged 65 years and over Persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as laid out in the Immunisation Green Book, COVID-19 chapter (Green Book) Frontline health and social care workers Persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression Persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers, as defined in the UKHSA Green Book. And staff working in care homes for older adults If you are eligible for the autumn booster, you can: Book your appointment online Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment on the NHS app Find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site You may be contacted by a local NHS service, such as your GP surgery, to get a vaccine for you or your child. This is usually done by text or a phone call, but you may sometimes get a letter or a notification in the NHS App. If you live in a care home and you are eligible, staff at your care home will arrange your vaccination for you.Some people may be eligible for both seasonal COVID-19 and flu vaccines. You may be asked if you want a flu vaccine at the same time. COVID-19 symptomsFind out more about the symptoms of COVID-19 in adults and children.What to do if you get symptoms againIf you have COVID-19 symptoms and are eligible for treatment, take a lateral flow test as soon as possible to ensure you get prompt accessibility to be assessed for treatment.For more information on how to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 please visit here. COVID-19 treatment informationHow to get COVID-19 Treatment Local NHS organisations are responsible for arranging COVID-19 treatments. The way you get treatment will depend on where you live.Your local integrated care board (ICB) can give you more information.If you think you're in the highest risk group and need to access COVID-19 treatment, follow these steps to be considered for a referral.1. Keep rapid lateral flow tests at homeIf you're eligible for COVID-19 treatment, you should keep rapid lateral flow tests at home. You can pick up free rapid lateral flow test kits from a local pharmacy if you're eligible for COVID-19 treatment.The pharmacy may ask you questions about your medical history to confirm you're eligible for free tests. If you have a copy of a letter or email sent to you by the NHS that says you're eligible for COVID-19 treatment, take this with you. A letter or email is not essential, but it will help the pharmacy to confirm you're eligible for free tests more easily.Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf, for example, a friend, relative or carer. If you do not have a friend, relative or carer who can collect your tests for you, you may be able to book a volunteer responder by calling 0808 196 3646. Anyone collecting free tests on your behalf needs to give the pharmacy your details, including: full name address date of birth NHS number (if available) medical condition(s) to confirm your eligibility They should also bring any copies of letters or emails that have been sent to you by the NHS about COVID-19 treatments. 2. Take a rapid lateral flow test if you get symptoms If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take a rapid lateral flow test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild. Only take a test if you have symptoms. You can also use tests you've paid for, for example, a test you've bought from a supermarket or pharmacy. 3. If your test is positive, call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist Call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible if your test result is positive. They'll decide if you need a referral for an assessment for COVID-19 treatment or may carry out the assessment themselves.As part of the assessment, you may be asked what other medicines you take or receive, including any vitamins or minerals, so it's important to have a list of these ready.If you're eligible for treatment, it's important to start the treatment as soon as you can. Treatments for COVID-19 need to be given quickly after your symptoms start to be effective. If you're prescribed capsules or tablets, the medicine can be collected on your behalf by someone else, such as a friend or relative. You'll be advised where the medicine can be collected from/ Alternatively, the NHS may be able to arrange for the medicine to be delivered to you. If the treatment needs to be given as a drip in your arm (infusion), you'll usually get it at your local hospital or in a local health centre.You'll get instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely. 4. If your test is negative, do a total of 3 tests over 3 daysIf your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to do a total of 3 rapid lateral flow tests over 3 days.For example, if you did your first test today, you should do a 2nd test tomorrow and a 3rd test the day after.If any test result is positive, you can stop testing and call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible. Reducing the risk of COVID-19 infectionPlease find below some supportive links for the people whose immune system means they are at higher risk: IN ENGLAND IN SCOTLAND IN WALES IN NORTHERN IRELANDWe have put together some information to help you cope with stress and anxiety during these uncertain times. Long Covid and the Covid Recovery Service The online service NHS Your Covid Recovery is for those who have had Covid and want to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. If you think you have Covid symptoms you can use the NHS 111 assessment Further general information and daily updates can be found on the GOV.UK website and their living with COVID-19 page Government guidanceEngland – There are no COVID-19 restrictions in the UK. If you have COVID-19 you should try to stay at home. For further information and advice please visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirusWales - There are no COVID-19 restrictions in Wales. For further information and advice please visit: www.gov.wales/coronavirus Scotland - All COVID rules and restrictions have been lifted in Scotland. For further information and advice please visit: www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/ Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland's government guidance can be found here. Shielding programme endedThe shielding programme ended in England on 15 September 2021. This means that people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) will not be advised to shield in the future or follow specific guidance. This is because we know a lot more about the virus and what makes someone more or less vulnerable to COVID-19, the vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out, and treatments are becoming available. If your immune system means you are at higher risk from COVID-19, there is specific guidance for you (including a definition of what this means). Working safely information for employersPublic health guidance was published for employers in England to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Safe at Work Letter can be shared with employers to support discussions on safety at work.Northern Ireland Guidance – View hereScotland Guidance – View hereWales Guidance – View here Travel informationEngland - Travel information for people in England. Scotland - Travel rules and information for people in Scotland. Wales - Travel information for people in Wales. Northern Ireland - Travel advice for people in Northern Ireland. Webinars, further information and support Living with COVID-19 Webinar 21st April 2022A community webinar chaired by Pascoe Sawyers, External Affairs Lead, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) took place on 21st April. You can view the webinar here.Vaccination Webinar 7th February 2022 NKF partnered with Kidney Care UK, Kidney Research UK, Kidney Wales, Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity and UK Kidney Association to deliver a webinar regarding the developments in our knowledge about the Covid vaccines and treatments. We were joined by Dr Andrew Frankel, Dr Rebecca Suckling, Professor Liz Lightstone and Professor Richard Haynes. You can view the webinar here.Vaccination webinar 29th June 2021NKF partnered with Kidney Care UK, Kidney Research UK, Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity and UK Kidney Association to deliver a webinar regarding the developments in our knowledge about the Covid vaccines and how people with suppressed immune systems are responding, as well as a discussion about how to return to normal activities and cope with anxiety as restrictions ease. We were joined by four kidney doctors, Dr Rebecca Suckling from Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, Dr Andrew Frankel, Dr Steve McAdoo, and Dr Michelle Willicombe from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. You can view the webinar here.National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publish final draft guidance on COVID-19 treatments National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published their final draft guidance recommending the following COVID-19 treatments: Paxlovid, Xevudy (also called sotrovimab), RoActerma. We are pleased that the final draft guidance has made available a treatment which can be taken by kidney patients. To read more on the final draft guidance published please visit: www.nice.org.uk/news/article/nice-recommends-3-treatments-for-covid-19-in-final-draft-guidance Recommendations on reducing the risk of respiratory virus infections in haemodialysis settings and management of dialysis patients with symptoms of respiratory virus infections - (January 2023)View document The NKF partnered with Kidney Research UK in 2021 to fund a study to discover how well COVID-19 vaccinations work in people who go to hospital for dialysis.Information and guidance for renal professionals.The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have approved three Covid-19 vaccinations. The first vaccine to be approved has been developed by Pfizer-BioNTech. The second vaccine has been developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and roll-out started in the UK on Monday 4th January 2021.The third vaccine has been produced by Moderna. The first dose was administered in Wales on 7th April 2021.RESEARCH AND STUDIES ON CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 trials and studies Stravinsky StudyA new 2 year study, the Stratification of Clinically Vulnerable People for COVID-19 Risk Using Antibody Testing (STRAVINSKY Study) aims to establish if antibody testing can identify which individuals remains at greatest risk of severe COVID-19 infection after vaccinations funded by National Institute of Health and Care research (NIHR).If you would like to know more about the study, details around recruitment and information on what is involved in taking part in the study, please visit the STRAVINSKY website.The PANARAMIC Study is open to everyone with ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 and a positive PCR or Lateral Flow test, regardless of vaccination status. The PROTECT-V study are enrolling patients at particularly high risk of COVID-19. The first drug to be tested to see if it might prevent the disease occurring is intranasal niclosamide. PROTECT-V will enrol patients with kidney or autoimmune diseases, including patients undergoing dialysis, kidney transplant recipients, and individuals with auto-immune conditions receiving immunosuppression. These are vulnerable populations who are underrepresented in many existing clinical trials.The Melody Research Study is a large study aiming to assess UK-wide antibody responses following COVID-19 vaccination in the clinically vulnerable patient groups, and aims to include 12,000 adult transplant patients. NKF facemasks and COVID perspective guidance on home dialysis To order our NKF facemasks please visit here or call 01909 544999 where you can place your order and we can take payment by card.There is strong evidence that patients who dialyse at home are able to protect themselves better from COVID-19 compared to patients who dialyse in a centre.It is for this reason, the National Kidney Federation (NKF) is running a campaign to increase the incidence of home dialysis across the country and this pamphlet has been put together to help you to understand the issues that you should think about if you are considering home dialysis.Read ‘A COVID-19 Perspective on Home Dialysis’ here.