If you have Parkinson's, you have no increased risk of getting coronavirus.
While the government has said people with Parkinson's are more at risk of complications if they get coronavirus, the advice for people with Parkinson's is the same as for the general population.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against the virus.
More information about Parkinson's and coronavirus
Parkinson's can cause respiratory issues for some people. If you have advanced Parkinson's or have lived with the condition for a long time, you're more likely to have breathing and respiratory difficulties. Coronavirus affects your lungs and airways. This is why people with Parkinson's are described as being at greater risk of severe illness if they get coronavirus.
The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world. All approved vaccines meet the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
So far, millions of people have been given a coronavirus vaccine. Reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare.
Our Clinical Director, Dr Donald Grosset, advises: "The vaccine is safe for people with Parkinson's. There is no interaction with Parkinson's medication.
"As new variants of the virus continue to emerge and spread across the UK, we recommend that everyone with Parkinson’s, and their carers, stay up to date with any boosters they are offered to maintain that level of protection."
Most people are eligible and have been offered a vaccine and boosters.
Autumn 2023 boosters and flu vaccines
An autumn 2023 coronavirus booster and flu vaccines programme has been announced.
You'll be able to get a coronavirus booster if you're in one of the following groups:
- all adults aged 65 years and over
- residents in a care home for older adults
- persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
- frontline health and social care workers
- persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
- persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers, and staff working in care homes for older adults.
Vaccinations are now set to start on 11 September, with adult care home residents and those most at risk to receive vaccines first. The aim is to complete the booster programme by early December 2023.
You'll be able to get a free flu vaccine from 1 September 2023 if you're in one of the following groups:
- all adults aged 65 years and over (or over 50 years in Scotland)
- persons aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- residents in long-stay residential care homes
- carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person
- close contacts of people with immunosuppression
- frontline workers in a social care setting such as a registered residential care or nursing home, registered domiciliary care providers and voluntary managed hospice providers.
You can book an appointment directly with your GP, or the NHS will contact you inviting you to book.
If you do become unwell with a virus of any kind, it’s important to keep taking the medication prescribed to you for Parkinson's.
Our Clinical Director, Dr Donald Grosset, advises: "You should not suddenly stop taking your prescribed medication for Parkinson's, as that can cause additional problems. However, missing a small number of doses – because of vomiting, for example – will not cause you harm.
"Follow the advice given to you by your health professional who might adjust your tablets or dose, depending on your condition."
In some cases, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that last for weeks or months after a person no longer has the virus. This is called long COVID.
Common symptoms of long COVID include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath and chest pain or tightness.
Having Parkinson's does not increase your risk of getting long COVID.
However, research has shown that older people and those with certain underlying health conditions are more likely to develop long COVID.
For more information on long COVID and its symptoms, visit the NHS website.
We're here for you
Our helpline is a free confidential service providing support to anyone affected by Parkinson's.
Our trained advisers, including specialist Parkinson's nurses, can provide information and advice about all aspects of living with Parkinson's.
Call 0808 800 0303 or email [email protected] to get in touch.