For the purpose of making the human race immune to the coronavirus COVID-19, scientists worked hard to develop a successful vaccine. However, it took almost a year for the first sample of a successful vaccine to be created. It took several more months for different types of successful vaccines against COVID-19 were declared safe for administration. The COVID-19 vaccines only started being distributed for mass administration at the start of the year 2021. While WHO provided general guidelines for people who should be vaccinated first, different countries have come up with their own criteria for vaccination.
Israel Figa talks about the different criteria that countries from over the world have set and who is on top of their vaccine priority list.
WHO Vaccination Priority Criteria
As per the criteria set by WHO, healthcare workers and patients in long-term care facilities should be the first to get vaccinated in the first phase. The organization set our different phases because of the limited supply of the vaccine in the early stages. Following the first stage, frontline workers such as police officers, food and agricultural workers, etc. were to be targeted in the second phase. This was followed by the vaccination of the elderly over the age of 75. The age group lowered in the next phases on vaccine administration.
Vaccine Priority Criteria In Different Countries
Following WHO’s format of priority, the US administered the first batch of the vaccine to health care workers, and long-term care residents and staff in nursing homes. In the next phase, essential workers such as teachers, transit workers, police officers, etc. along with people over the age of 75 were targeted. People with medical conditions were also given the vaccine during the second phase. The United States has been following WHO’s list of priorities to the dot.
Another example of a country following WHO’s guidelines properly is Italy which is among the countries that had the highest rate of casualties from the pandemic. Medical workers, elderly people, and people with previous health conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus were included in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine administration. In the second phase, essential workers such as the military and police forces were given the vaccine.
The first people to qualify for the vaccine in Germany were, as expected, health care workers including doctors, nurses, and people in vulnerable medical conditions. The country targeted to reduce the burden in ICUs and prioritized getting the vaccine to people who are at a higher risk. The next phases were followed as per WHO’s guidelines. Israel Figa explains that it will take months for the country to vaccinate its entire population and therefore, it is hoping that around 55-65% of the population will reach herd immunity.
Spain received around 20 million vaccines with a double dose from a deal with the EU. The amount of vaccine will only cover about 10 million people from the total population of around 46 million. Spain’s health minister announced that workers in the medical field and elderly people over the age of 75 should be the first to get vaccinated. The downside of this is that these two groups will use up all of the 10 million doses that the country received.
Indonesia is among the countries that are not adhering to the priority guideline set by the World Health Organization. The country is vaccinating its healthcare workers first and foremost which are directly followed by workers in the public service. These include teachers, military, police officers, office workers, etc. The reason why it is not prioritizing vaccinating the elderly is that the vaccine trials for people over 60 have not yet been completed.
The World Health Organization has provided guidelines for who should be vaccinated first. Countries from all over the world have different criteria for vaccinating their people. While some are strictly following the provided guidelines, countries such as Indonesia are following their own list. Dr. Israel Figa says that people should follow whichever criteria that the country of their residence is setting for the vaccinations and make sure to get it when it’s their turn.