Saturday 28 November 2020

Over 60s, people with serious health issues should get Covid vaccine first

Photo: SELF Magazine

People over the age of 60 and those with serious health problems such as heart failure and diabetes should be the first to be given a vaccination against coronavirus, the national health council said on Thursday.

Targeting these groups first would bring about the best health benefits, the council said in recommendations to ministers. In addition, front-line healthcare workers should also be given priority.

However, given that the initial supply of vaccine may be small, the frail elderly with additional health issues should be top of the list, the health council said.

The recommendations are based on the current situation and could change if different priorities need to be set or if the vaccine is not suitable for everyone.

‘Once more is known about the suitability of the vaccines for specific groups… the advice may change,’ the council said. ‘The council is following developments closely and, if necessary, will bring out new recommendations.’

For example, if the infection rate is very low, it may be sensible to vaccinate youngsters first, as people in their 20s were behind the second wave, the council said. This would then indirectly protect the elderly and people in vulnerable health.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Tuesday he hoped that a vaccination programme could be rolled out in the first months of next year.

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