Parkinson's and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Everything you need to know about Parkinson's and coronavirus (COVID-19), including the support that's available.

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."

A coronavirus booster and flu vaccines programme was delivered to certain groups in autumn 2023. 

Spring 2024 boosters 

You'll be able to get a coronavirus booster in spring 2024 if you're in one of the following groups:

  • adults aged 75 years and over
  • residents in a care home for older people

You should be offered an appointment between April and June, with those at highest risk being called in first. You will be invited to have your booster around 6 months after your last dose, but you can have it as soon as 3 months.

If you are turning 75 years of age between April and June, you do not have to wait until your birthday, you can attend when you are called for vaccination.

You will be invited for your booster, your GP may offer you the vaccine or you can book yourself using the NHS app. 

The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill. This includes people who have Parkinson's. 
The treatment is an antiviral medicine, which is given either as a tablet or as a drip in your arm.

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.