Beat's statement on COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation

Posted 27/01/2021

The Government has stated that those suffering from severe mental illnesses (SMIs) are a priority group for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine [1]. The NHS definition of SMIs includes individuals suffering from eating disorders [2]. Therefore, Beat recommends that individuals suffering from an eating disorder should be considered a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.

As COVID-19 is a new infection, we do not know yet if those suffering from eating disorders are at risk of more serious problems than the general population [3]. However, related issues such as periods of hospitalisation, underlying health conditions and risks associated with being at a higher weight, do increase the risk of COVID-19 [4,5].

Currently, evidence does not indicate that those with eating disorders will have an adverse reaction to the COVID 19 vaccine. However, it is important to consult with your GP if you think you may have other health conditions that might affect your reaction to the vaccine.

(The government plan to prioritise individuals suffering from SMIs once the over 65 age range has been vaccinated [1]).

If you've been affected by this and would like any guidance or support, please contact Beat's Helpline services, available 365 days a year.


1.Department of Health and Social Care. Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: Advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination. [internet]. 2021. Available from:    

2.NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019-20 – 2023/24. [Internet]. 2019. Available from :      

3.Royal College of Psychiatrists. COVID-19: Eating Disorders.[Internet].2021. Available from:

4.Carter B, Collins J T, Barlow-Pay F, Pearce L, McCarthy K, et al. Nosocomial COVID-19 infection: examining the risk of mortality. The COPE-Nosocomial Study (COVID in Older People). Journal of Hospital Infection. 2020. (106) 376-384.

5.NHS. Who’s at higher risk of coronavirus. [Internet]. 2021. Available from: