What are the current rules with anti-virals

I recently got covid again, for the 2nd time. Last time round, after registering my test, I got a call from the CMDU and then sent me paxlovid, because as someone with a history of blood cancer I was deemed to have a weakened immune system.

This time round, when the doctor called, he said that I was now far enough beyond treatment (3 years) that that rule no longer applied.

I was wondering, what are the current official rules? I know with some things, like vaccine eligibility, the “history of blood cancer” has no time limit, and even if it was 60 years ago, you still qualify for a vaccine. It seems that anti-virals are following different rules and I’m just wondering what they are?

I should say, I’m just genuinely curious about what the rules are, I’m not complaining about not getting the anti-virals - I’m sure there are people who need it more than me. I guess I’m more wondering about the future - if there was a really bad covid variant in the future, will I never be able to access these drugs again, or is it more nuanced than that?


Hello @muppet
Sorry to hear you have had covid for a second time. I hope you’re not too poorly with it. How are you feeling?
You have raised a good question regarding who is eligible and why for anti-viral treatments.

There are different policies/guidance for vaccines and anti-viral treatments for Covid.
For antiviral treatments there is a document by the Department of Health listing the highest-risk clinical subgroups, which the advisory committee have recommended be offered the anti-viral treatments, based on the current risks from Covid (this was published May 2022). If you are interested, the document link is here: anti-viral recommendations
Several blood cancers are mentioned within the document, and also some different treatment types with time frames of when treatment was received/finished.
For covid vaccinations this is slightly different group; Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) they advise the UK Health departments. More about them is here: JVCI
The recommendations for covid vaccines from JCVI is here: vaccines-covid

I hope this is helpful to you, it may clarify things for you around the recommendations for your type of blood cancer. If you want anything more specific we can try and find out, just let us know. Our website is always updated with the most current information that’s available, so do check it regularly.
Take care, Heidi.

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Thanks so its Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) CMML and Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) + MF
Alsoif youve had a stem sell transplant within 6 months.


Thanks @Heidi_BloodCancerUK , that’s just what I was looking for and I can see now why I’m no longer eligible.

The covid was pretty rough this time around, probably worst than the first time I had it (although maybe that’s because I did get Paxlovid that time?). I’m through the worst of it now though. It definitely seemed to hit me harder than other family members who got it at the same time. Maybe that’s coincidence, or maybe my cancer-damaged immune system will never quite be as strong as everyone else’s.


Morning @muppet
I was also definitely much worse the first time I had covid. I am so glad the information you have been given has helped you.
I am hopeful all of the vaccines we are receiving and immunity generally in society is improving as a whole and collectively we are seeing covid off :).
Glad you are on the mend .