Elderly, vulnerable people should be first in line for Covid vaccine: Health Council
In the current coronavirus situation, with a high number of infections and not much information about reserved vaccines, people over the age of 60 and vulnerable groups of seriously ill people should be first in line to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Health Council said in advice to the government on Thursday.
In this situation, it would be wise to focus the use of vaccines on reducing the number of seriously ill Covid-19 patients and Covid-19 deaths by protecting those most vulnerable to the disease, is the advice. In this case, that is the elderly and people with comorbidities, like diabetes, heart disease, or respiratory disease.
In this scenario, healthcare workers who are in direct contact with patients should also be given priority, the Health Council said. If the elderly or chronically ill cannot be vaccinated themselves, the government could consider vaccinating the people in their immediate vicinity.
The Health Council assumes that there will be so few vaccines available initially, that choices will have to be made within this group. In that case, people of advanced age with serious conditions should be given the first vaccines.
If circumstances change, a different strategy will work better. In the case of low infections, it might make more sense to use vaccines to prevent the spread of the virus. This can be done by vaccinating people in their 20s, who have the most contacts, first. This indirectly protects the elderly and vulnerable group, because the virus circulates less.
A third strategy is to use vaccines to prevent the disruption of society as much as possible. For example, if absenteeism or mortality is high in vital sectors like healthcare, police and education, the workers in these sectors should be vaccinated first.
The Health Council stressed that too little is known about when a vaccine will be available, how effective it will be, and what the epidemiological situation will look like at the time for it to issue definitive advice. It therefore decided to advise on a few different strategies for different scenarios. Combining several strategies may also turn out to be the best option. It will issue a new recommendation when more information is available.