The first Corona vaccinations in Austria and Europe already started shortly after Christmas, but the big vaccination offensive is only now starting little by little. 2021 will be the big vaccination year.
Initially, only the vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer will be vaccinated. Unlike most other countries, Austria relied on AstraZeneca’s drug for much of its vaccine procurement. While this has the advantage of being significantly cheaper and not requiring such cold storage, it is unlikely to be licensed in the EU before February.
The vaccination plan in Austria includes three phases. The first to be vaccinated are nursing homes (residents and staff) and health care professionals in January and February. This is followed by high-risk patients. Here, the definition of risk groups that had already applied to service exemptions will apply. The vaccine should be available to the general population from April.
The Corona vaccination is free of charge for all interested parties. On January 12, nursing and retirement homes throughout Austria will receive the vaccination opportunity. Helath Minister Rudolf Anschober expects that there will be further vaccination approvals in the coming months.
Physicians in private practice are to proactively address all persons over 65 and invite them to the vaccinations in their clinics starting in February. More than 20,000 calls have already been received by an information hotline, according to the health minister. There is a lot of demand for detailed information, he said.
With the current actual state between seven category of different priority is differentiated, this determines also the vaccination sequence. Only children and adolescents under 16 years of age and pregnant and breastfeeding women are excluded. They are not vaccinated. The seven priority levels:
- These are people over the age of 80, residents and staff of nursing homes and homes for the elderly, and health care workers with a particularly high risk of exposure and close contact with vulnerable groups.
- This category includes people between the ages of 75 and 79, as well as people with pre-existing conditions and particularly high risk (such as trisomy 21 or organ transplant recipients) and their closest contacts. Likewise, health care workers at high risk of exposure, such as emergency medical services and office-based primary care physicians and nurses, are assigned here.
- People aged 70 to 74, as well as those with pre-existing conditions and at increased risk, such as obesity, chronic kidney disease or liver disease, diabetes mellitus, HIV infection, coronary heart disease, or cancer, and their caregivers.
- This category also includes asylum seekers in shelters, persons in homeless facilities, prison inmates, and staff in these facilities.
- The third group also includes social workers, chaplains and morticians. Close contacts of pregnant women because of the severe course of disease in pregnant women and medical personnel with a moderate risk of exposure are also listed here.
- Source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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