Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Vitamin D and covid-19

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 04 March 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n544

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Rapid Response:

Re: Vitamin D and covid-19

Dear Editor

The failure of the medical profession to promote vitamin D and to fail to correct known widespread deficiency within the population during the pandemic of Covid-19 has been a disgrace. There appears to be a serious and inexcusable ignorance of the function of vitamin D in defensive immunity, and there also appears to be a failure or even a resistance to learn. At risk groups such as the elderly, the obese, those of African or Asian ethnicity, Haredi Jews and others have been dying in excessive numbers and they are all known to have a high incidence of serious vitamin D deficiency. Their deaths could have been minimised by doctors following their medical duty irrespective of the blinkered view of NICE, which regards vitamin D as a pharmaceutical agent rather than for correction of a vitamin/hormone deficiency state, and which avoids the huge evidence base accumulated during the past forty years.

To follow Pascal's wager, what is to be gained by identifying and correcting vitamin D deficiency? A large reduction of deaths. What is to be lost? £10 per person per year. What is to be gained by NOT using vitamin D? £10 per person per year. What is to be lost? A large number of avoidable deaths.

As a nation we have chosen the option of many avoidable deaths with the saving of a trivial amount of money.

Many individual doctors have been taking and promoting vitamin D. They are to be applauded. But the absence of leadership within the profession has, I repeat, been a disgrace.

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 March 2021
David S Grimes
Physician, retired