Monday , March 8 2021

“Strategic choice” explains why few older Stockholmers are vaccinated

It was a strategic choice to vaccinate healthcare professionals in the Stockholm Region. This was stated by Health and Medical Regions councilor Anna Starbrink (L) in a press release this weekend, where she also regretted that “the government is seeking conflict over vaccination”, after Energy Minister Anders Ygeman criticized the vaccination rate and specifically called the Stockholm Region.

– The reason why it seems like Stockholm has vaccinated less is that we have vaccinated many more healthcare professionals, which is also indicated by the Public Health Agency. It is a strategic choice for the health system to care for both obese patients and other seriously ill people, says Anna Starbrink now to DN.

Medical staff included in priority group two, but through a decision in the Stockholm region at the beginning of January, the health care staff was given priority and would be vaccinated in parallel.

– At the beginning of January, there was enormous pressure on intensive care as well as on the emergency rooms and a lot of worries about how we would manage emergency care. In order to manage the emergency care and the ambulances, the health care management decided to give priority to this group – it was a strategic and conscious decision. One can discuss whether it was right or wrong. I think it was good and necessary to protect the staff, says Anna Starbrink.

At the same time, this means that the Stockholm Region as early as January, in practice, the largest group of fragile elderly people included in the group with the highest priority, priority group one, were determined in the order of priority by the Swedish Public Health Bureau. When “certain care personnel” were prioritized, at the same time, the elderly with home care and home care, a total of just over 30,000 people, ended up further behind in the queue. During the week, the vaccination of people with home care and home care begins in full scale. The vaccine will be distributed among the health centers of the province, as DN reports.

– It goes without saying that if you use more vaccine for one group, it will be less for another group. We saw that there was a risk of becoming such a crisis driver in the hospitals that we judged it necessary. What we did not know was how the development would be with the fax submissions. We got pretty big commitments when it came to faxes, which did not arrive.

“To manage emergency care, health care management decided to prioritize this group – it was a conscious decision. You can discuss whether it was right or wrong,” said Anna Starbrink, regional councilor for health and medical care.

Photo: Nicklas Thegerström

Anna Starbrink also points out difficulties in handling and transporting Pfizer-Biontech vaccines, which were therefore not considered suitable for use in people at home.

– We are very much hoping for the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, which at the time did not prove suitable for people over the age of 65. There are different things that came into play.

Do you think you have been transparent about people with home care and home care who end up further down the queue?

– I think we tried to tell how we thought and that we raised those who worked in health care, we clearly went out and described. This is how we have tried to describe what it is like with reduced doses. It was something we did not expect when we made the decision.

The Liberals’ press release of January 8 describes that priority groups began to fax one and two in parallel, not that people with home help would wait.

– It’s also true – the medical staff did not form part of the priority group one of the Public Health Agency. I think we were clear that we raised them. It goes without saying that we use all the faxes we have.

As the newspaper The senior has made a compilation of the vaccinations in all regions, it turns out that the Stockholm Region is the worst in the country in vaccinating the elderly over 70 years. Of those vaccinated so far in the region, a predominance of people under the age of 70 have been vaccinated against covid-19. Only 30 percent of those who received the first dose are 70 years and older, according to the latest statistics from the Swedish Public Health Agency.

– It can also be said that there is a predominance of people who work with covid patients, but also of people who work in special housing and with home care who are vaccinated.

The region’s own statistics show that 37,000 healthcare workers received the first injection, compared to 25,000 elderly people in special housing and home care.

Fragile parents have been selected as particularly vulnerable to covid-19, and of those who died of the disease, the vast majority are more than 70 years old. According to the Health and Medical Services Act, the person with the greatest need must first receive care, and Anna Starbrink thinks that the region’s priorities meet the goal.

– It’s important to have health personnel who can take care of the affected, so I do not agree that it would be wrong. The problem is that we are working on a rationale schedule because we do not have a fax machine.

Read more:

30 doses are expected for the most fragile of the archipelago

The Stockholm region promises to meet the vaccination target by 30 June

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