A five phase Covid-19 vaccination plan with nursing home residents the first priority has been announced by top health advisory body HAS.
The Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) is recommending to the government that vaccination must be phased in, taking account of people's vulnerability to falling seriously ill with the disease, as supplies of vaccine will arrive in batches.
It is hoped that the first vaccinations could start as soon as the end of this year or in January 2021.
The HAS’s proposals, likely to strongly influence the government’s decisions, include the following phases:
A first ‘critical phase’ that should start as soon as the first doses arrive.
Elderly people living in nursing homes should be the first recipients, thought to number around 750,000.
Also employees of the homes who themselves have an elevated risk of falling ill with a serious form of Covid-19, that is to say up to 100,000 people who are aged 65 or more or have certain pre-existing medical conditions making them more vulnerable.
In a second ‘critical’ phase, when more vaccine doses arrive, it is recommended to vaccinate all those aged 75 or over, then those aged 65 or over and with additional risk factors (pre-existing illnesses), and then all other people aged 65 and above.
Also in this phase are health professionals, including those in medical transport, with first priority to those aged 50+ or with additional risk factors.
Everyone aged 50 or over, or aged under 50 but at risk of a serious form of the illness due to their health conditions.
Any health professionals not already vaccinated would be vaccinated at this stage, as well as those in forms of work deemed ‘indispensable to the functioning of the country’, including security and education sectors.
People who are ‘strongly exposed’ to the virus (eg. due to a lot of contact with the public or working with others in a confined space) and who have not been vaccinated in the previous phases.
Also included in this phase would be people in a ‘precarious’ situation and likely to be badly affected if they are infected, such as people in psychiatric hospitals, homeless people or prisoners.
Everyone aged 18 upwards, regardless of their health conditions. This phase could only start assuming that everyone in the previous categories who wishes to be vaccinated, has been vaccinated.