The FINANCIAL — More than nine in ten countries, studied as part of the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (167 out of 187), have published an official vaccination plan, with the top three priority categories internationally being older people, frontline healthcare workers, and the clinically vulnerable. Other categories widely prioritised are educators, military, border security workers and police/first responders.
The information comes as new, regularly-updated indicators – about prioritisation lists, which population groups are receiving vaccines, and the cost of vaccination to the individual – is being made available by Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, which has been monitoring COVID-19 policies since January 2020, according to University of Oxford.
Thomas Hale, Associate Professor at the Blavatnik School, said, ‘With many countries and regions currently still rolling out vaccination, we hope this new data will contribute to understanding which combination of eligibility and prioritisation may work best for different populations.’
The tracker also found, some countries made locally relevant choices. For example, Ghana prioritised farmers and workers in the food supply chain, while in Bolivia and Congo journalists and press officials were prioritised. And, on 29 May 2021, Lebanon held a one day ‘vaccination marathon’ to vaccinate as many over the age of 30 years as possible.
Meanwhile, high income countries took an average of 6-7 months to go from a prioritised list to universal adult access, whereas low income countries, especially those with high vaccine hesitancy, moved more quickly to universal access (approximately 2-3 months) to increase uptake.
The three new indicators are:
Vaccine prioritisation (V1): the published prioritisation plan for each country, eligible groups for vaccination, ranked in order: no plan, plan in place, universal/general eligibility for the adult population.
Vaccine eligibility/availability (V2): when categories of people become eligible and start receiving vaccinations. Divided into: age, medically/clinically vulnerable (non-elderly), educators, frontline workers (non-healthcare), frontline workers (healthcare), older people.
Vaccine financial support (V3): overall approach taken to vaccine funding, whether paid by the individual or the government.
Information on vaccination policies is essential in deepening the ability to understand issues such as the effects of vaccines on different population sub-groups, vaccine hesitancy, or the interaction between vaccine rollout and non-pharmaceutical interventions, including closure and containment policies, according to University of Oxford.