Are the vaccine prioritisation strategies efficient?

The availability of vaccines is still the biggest obstacle in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. There is a fierce struggle over which segments of the population vaccination strategies should prioritise. Europe's press is also engaged in a multi-faceted debate.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Social disadvantage increases infection risk

The infection rate in the Chorweiler district in Cologne is ten times higher than in other neighbourhoods. The city ist now sending mobile vaccination units there. The taz approves:

“It stands to reason that people who live in cramped conditions and are dependent on public transport, who work as packers, drivers or cashiers and come into frequent contact with customers, will be harder hit by the pandemic than someone who works at their desk at home. ... So it's high time to prioritise these people in the vaccination campaign. ... Anything other than a large-scale campaign for vaccination, perhaps including the offer of free lunches, would be a denial of assistance which in the end also affects those sitting in their own homes.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Parents with small children can't keep their distance

Die Presse also says that those at greater risk of infection should be vaccinated first, but with a focus on young parents:

“Despite tests, the risk of infection among children is high, simply because it's difficult to get children to wear masks consistently and keep their distance from each other. ... Fortunately, they rarely fall seriously ill themselves. However they can easily infect their parents, who, with a bit of bad luck, can become seriously ill. ... School is out again at the beginning of July ... Until then, young parents should be given priority when it comes to vaccinations. If only because, unlike other risks, the greatest risk to which they specifically are exposed - contact with their children - cannot be avoided.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

No exceptions for holiday islands

Instead of giving priority to senior citizens and high-risk groups, the Italian region of Campania is having the inhabitants of islands that are popular tourist destinations vaccinated in a bid to attract holidaymakers. Corriere della Sera says this sets a dangerous precedent:

“Why is it that on Procida [an island off the coast of Naples] 92 percent of the population has already been vaccinated while only 68 percent of the population over 80 with physical disabilities have received a first dose? ... If [the president of the Campania region Vincenzo] De Luca is allowed to play by his own rules, others may follow suit, like the governor of Sicily, who has announced a mass vaccination campaign 'because they did it in Procida'. This is vaccination federalism, which the government must avoid at all costs.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

The elderly are falling through the safety net

Poland's healthcare system is leaving many elderly people in the lurch, Tygodnik Powszechny criticises:

“Prime Minister Morawiecki has assured the public that everyone who wants to can be vaccinated by the end of July. This is supposed to convey the impression that the vaccination campaign is going well. However, the devil is in the detail. ... The enthusiasm of 30- and 40-year-olds for the efficient registration system also has its flip side, namely the technologically excluded seniors. And we're not just talking about those who can't register online on their own. Some of them don't even have access to a telephone. In Poland, only 56 percent of people over 80 have been vaccinated so far.”