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01 April 2021
Asthma , COPD, Allergy

We have been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for almost a year, and it seems we will need to co-live with the virus for a while. Patients at high-risk are suffering from the virus itself and the prevention measures, while patient organisations are going through tough times in terms of capacity and workload. 

In February, 17 EFA met online with Members to share concerns and experiences linked to COVID-19. It presented an opportunity to understand how this situation is handled at national level and how patient organisations were able to support respiratory and allergy patients in the challenges brought by the pandemic.

During the meeting, EFA Members reported common issues that patients have endured during this particular year in lockdown. This included: a common sense of loneliness, delays with diagnosis, treatment and check-ups, long-term effects of COVID-19 infection or the inability to wear a face mask causing unpleasant reactions from people in public spaces. Moreover, patients are uncertain and confused around the feasibility of mass vaccination, and the adverse allergic reactions linked to the vaccines.

The role of EFA Members remains key in supporting patients to cope with the COVID-19 challenges. Patient organisations can propose psychological support for patients and collaborate with healthcare professionals to provide patients with reliable information on COVID-19 and its effects as well as on vaccines and allergic reactions.

Some of examples brought from our Members where extra grants from the national government for respiratory patients that were not able to work and had to stay at home for their own safety, as reported by the Swedish Heart and Lung Association or a website to support people with long-term covid symptoms and help them communicate with medical professionals and an online survey to measure the COVID burden on patients, both developed by the Dutch Lung Foundation.