Chesterfield mum fears for anorexic daughter with BMI of 13 - as eating disorders not included on Covid-19 vaccine priority list

A Chesterfield mother is concerned people with anorexia are being ‘forgotten’ in the Covid-19 vaccines rollout.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 11:06 pm

NHS worker Mandy Fabisiewicz, from Holme Hall, fears her 38-year-old daughter is at risk from catching Covid-19 – as eating disorders are not in the ‘clinical risk groups’ which need to be vaccinated as a higher priority according to the Government.

Victoria Heathcote, who lives in Grassmoor has suffered from anorexia since she was 16, has a BMI of 13 which categories her as extremely underweight and is classed as a person with a Serious and Enduring Eating Disorder (SEED) meaning she is unlikely to ever recover.

While the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has included being seriously overweight and having a BMI of 40 and above as part of the clinical conditions list, along with blood cancer, diabetes and dementia – people with eating disorders do not qualify to be prioritised.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Victoria Heathcote, 38, from Grassmoor in Chesterfield, has had anorexia since she was 16.
Victoria Heathcote, 38, from Grassmoor in Chesterfield, has had anorexia since she was 16.

The 62-year-old is worried her daughter, who also suffers from bulimia, could die if she contracted coronavirus and is calling on the Government to widen the priority list.

Mandy said: "She is likely to never recover [from her eating disorders] and her life span is shortened quite a lot.

"I'm extremely concerned because if Victoria gets any illness at any time she could die from heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure.

"She is such a lovely girl and it is such a terrible thing that people can take it in their own hands and stop people from getting it when they are so poorly.”

She has a BMI of 13, classing her as extremely underweight, but Victoria is still not considered a priority for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Victoria, who is unable to work, was bullied about her weight when she was a teenager and despite visiting residential treatment facilities, she still suffers with multiple eating disorders.

Mandy added: “I'm just fighting a losing battle and I am trying my best to keep her alive.

"I think people think anorexia is a choice and it's not and it's a mental and physical illness, they don't just wake up one day and decide they aren't going to eat anything because they want to be thin.

"Something ignites it and then that's it, they are in that stream and it's so difficult to get out.”

Victoria has been diagnosed with a Serious and Enduring Eating Disorder (SEED).

A spokesperson for NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Vaccination teams across Joined Up Care Derbyshire are working incredibly hard to reach all eligible people across the county.

"To do this as effectively as possible, we are following the guidance on priority groups, as set out by the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI).

“JCVI guidance is for people to be vaccinated as a priority if they have a mental illness which causes severe functional impairment.

"A person with anorexia should speak with their GP to discuss their circumstances and whether they should receive a Covid-19 vaccination as a priority.

The 38-year-old's mother Mandy Fabisiewicz is concerned why her illness has not accelerated her up the vaccine priority list.

"We realise that many people are keen to get their vaccinations but ask that people remain patient, and book their vaccination as soon as they are offered an appointment.”

The Department of Health and Social Care were contacted for comment.

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper.