Sex, ethnicity and wealth might help determine who is prioritized for the coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccine under the proposals being discussed by the UK government. The body charged with the devising of the vaccine strategy of the UK, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is considering the best method of deciding who is most at risk from getting seriously ill from coronavirus.
The JVCI has made an 11-tier priority vaccination list as an 'interim recommendation'. This list is based mostly on age but also considers the occupation and the pre-existing medical conditions, as reported by the Telegraph. The government might even use an algorithm made by the academics at Oxford University, which factors in a wide range of variables also including sex, ethnicity, deprivation, smoking status, current medications, and BMI.
However, it is currently getting reviewed and an updated version is expected to get published in the coming two weeks. The committee will probably take into consideration what we already know about who is worst affected by the vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy in UK
As per the Public Health England (PHE), twice as many working-age men infected with coronavirus have died compared to that women. Mortality rates in the poor areas are double and BAME communities have between 10 to 50 percent higher chances of death even age, sex and social deprivation are considered.
The low skilled workers have a death rate that is almost four times that of professional. In the case of security guards, the toughest hit of all in the first wave, confirmed deaths were almost double that of men working in social care. The officials stated that the current list is not expected to change but confirmed consideration is being given for the incorporation of a broader range of non-medical factors that influence the risk.
There is a concern between getting a system that prioritizes by risk tacking all factors into account and one that is easy to understand and also implement, they mentioned. "Members noted an update from DHSC on the individual risk tool developed by the University of Oxford. It was noted that the tool would identify an individual's risk of hospitalization and mortality and could be used to stratify the population," the latest published minutes of JCVI stated as reported by the Mirror.
The minutes also pointed out the challenges with the mass vaccine delivery could mean that a simpler program might be the best way forward with the delivery. The optimal program can sit somewhere between the two approaches, the minutes read. The pressure is also rising on the ministers to finalizing a vaccine distribution strategy.