SENIOR medics and experts have renewed an appeal for vitamin D to be distributed to groups of people who appear to be at a higher risk of becoming critically ill or dying if they catch the coronavirus.

In an open letter, published in The National today, Barbara Boucher, Honorary Professor of Medicine at the Blizard Institute at Queen Mary University of London, joined Dr Peter Cobbold, Emeritus Professor, University of Liverpool and Helga Rhein, a retired GP in Edinburgh and others call for supplements to be given to the elderly, carers, night-shift workers and members of BAME communities in the UK who are more likely to have low levels of the nutrient.

It has been sent to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and interim CMO Dr Gregor Smtih, as well as their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

Their intervention follows a senior doctor urging the Scottish Government to distribute vitamin D to households. Research has found it can support the immune system in fighting respiratory diseases and help prevent it reaching the stage where the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks the body’s organs. The Scottish Government rejected the call but does advise people to take vitamin D.

“We believe the UK’s highest risk groups for severe Covid-19, many of which are also known to be at the highest risk of vitamin D deficiency, should be provided with vitamin D supplements,” said the letter.

“The high risk groups are those occupationally exposed to the virus including frontline health care workers, carers, BAME communities, those who are house bound, in residential care or night-shift workers. Those furthest north [Scotland] have additional risks of deficiency due to latitude.

“Vitamin D3 is cheap ... no new checks would be necessary for its distribution as a matter of urgency.”

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