People can be prioritized for a coronavirus vaccine depending on their sex, ethnicity and wealth, according to the proposals being discussed by the government.
The Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI), the body charged with drafting the UK’s vaccination strategy, is considering the best way to decide who is most at risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19.neptune
He can even use an algorithm developed by academics at the University of Oxford that considers a wide range of variables, including “age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, smoking, body mass index, pre-existing medical conditions and current medications”.
The JCVI has already produced an 11-level priority vaccination list as an “interim recommendation”, which is based primarily on age, but includes consideration of pre-existing occupation and medical conditions.
However, it is being revised and an updated version is due to be published in the next two weeks.
The committee will likely take into account what we already know about who is most affected by the vaccine.
According to Public Health England (PHE), twice as many men of working age diagnosed with Covid compared to women; mortality rates in the poorest areas are double those in the richest; and BAME communities have a 10 to 50 percent higher risk of death, even when age, sex and social deprivation are taken into account.
Low-skilled workers have a mortality rate almost four times higher than that of professionals. For security guards – the hardest hit of all in the first wave – the reported deaths were almost double that of men working in social assistance.
The authorities say the current list is not expected to change dramatically, but the possibility of incorporating a wider range of non-medical factors that influence risk is being considered.
There is a tension between getting a system that prioritizes by risk taking into account all factors and one that is easy to understand and implement, they said.
“Members observed an update from DHSC on the individual risk tool developed by the University of Oxford,” say the latest published minutes from the JCVI.
“It was realized that the tool would identify an individual’s risk of hospitalization and mortality and could be used to stratify the population.
“That was [also] noted that challenges with the mass distribution of vaccines may mean that a simpler program may be the best way to deliver a program.
“The ideal program can be somewhere between the two approaches.”
Pressure is growing on ministers to finalize a vaccine distribution strategy.