In a statement published today, 7 January, the Board of the Federation of the European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) called for the inclusion of health workers as a priority target group for COVID-19 vaccines. In particular, the FEAM Board highlighted the importance of early vaccination for first-line health workers and support staff exposed to COVID-19.
A similar message was sent this week to the Belgian Health Minister Franck Vandenbroucke by Fellows of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine (ARMB), which is a Member of FEAM.
At a time when the European Medicine Agency (EMA) has granted authorisation to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, bringing hope in the fight against coronavirus, the FEAM Board argues that it is key for all EU Member States to include healthcare workers among the priority groups to be vaccinated.
In the document, the FEAM Board acknowledges the essential role played by the EU Commission in securing the purchase of massive doses of vaccines (almost 2 billion) for all EU citizens. However, given the limited quantities of available vaccines, the Federation stressed that prioritisation is key for the success of vaccination.
“The FEAM Board strongly supports high priority vaccination of health personnel and support staff providing direct and daily care for COVID-19 patients during the earliest phases of vaccination. As health personnel and support staff can transmit the disease to patients and fragile individuals while being asymptomatic, we also support the vaccination of all health personnel and support staff as soon as possible”, the statement reads.
The FEAM Board stressed that health workers should be vaccinated at the same time as fragile and at-risk populations as well as health workers and support staff of retirement homes.
“To ensure a successful rollout, national authorities should also guarantee a brisk pace of vaccination”, the statement concludes.