COVID-19 vaccination: older people call for clear information and better accessibility

As vaccination campaigns against coronavirus are kicked-off all over Europe, older people’s organisations swing into action to provide up-to-date information about vaccination policies and alert decision-makers about the pitfalls of some strategies.

COVID-vaccination_Pexels-cropped “We notice a high willingness to vaccinate in the older generation. But we want to know when and where and with which vaccine we can safely be vaccinated!”
said the president of our Austrian member PVÖ, Dr. Peter Kostelka

How and where you can get vaccinated

While older people in many European countries are among the priority groups to receive the vaccines, older people’s organisations around the continent support public campaigns by sharing practical information with their constituencies.

  • In Belgium, Énéo supports the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, which began in Belgium on 5 January 2021. The association provides information on why vaccination matters and commits to relay clear and verified information about COVID-19 vaccines and the potential concerns it can raise.
  • In Denmark, DaneAge also explained how and when you can be vaccinated against COVID-19 on their website. Their guidance includes tips on how to book an appointment via phone and how to arrange your trip to the vaccination center.
  • In France, Générations Mouvement provides five reasons why to we should seize the opportunity to get vaccinated.
  • In Italy, ANAP warns of the risks of scams after many older people have received a proposal by telephone to administer the anti-Covid vaccine directly at home.

Alerts on the risks of failures of vaccination strategies

People at higher risk of severe health outcomes must come first.

  • In Germany, BAGSO recommends to prioritise people living in residential care settings as well as to carry a nation-wide campaign to inform about the vaccines, and their possible side effects. Procedures to book appointments should be as simple as possible and remain accessible by letter and telephone (position paper of 22 January 2021).
  • In Spain, UDP demands greater control in the management and vaccination protocols against COVID-19, ensuring that the people most vulnerable to the virus and those who are in the first line of contagion (health personnel, personnel providing home support, staff in day care centers and residences, etc.) access their doses in strict order (press release of 01 February 2021).

Alternatives to digital solutions must remain available.

  • In Austria, PVÖ calls for the Corona telephone number 1450 (currently used for registration to be vaccinated only in Vienna) is extended to throughout the country and make available especially those who do not have a computer and no Internet (release of 21 January 2021).
  • In Sweden, SPF Seniorerna welcomes the revised vaccination strategy allowing people aged 65 years and older to be vaccinated in priority. The association is also pleased that it is now clear what type of vaccine should be given to those who are older following available documentation of vaccines efficacy per age group. However, SPF continues alerting that alternatives to digital vaccination certificates must be delivered (news of 04 February 2021).

Vaccination premises must be accessible, including transport-wise.

  • In France, Générations Mouvement asked the French President that the specificities of the rural environment are taken into account, especially in terms of travel and assistance to make appointments with vaccination centres and that a census of isolated people eligible for vaccination can be organised, including with the support of local associations (open letter of 29 January 2021).
  • In Germany, VdK demands that transport aids to the vaccination centers be made available in the form of free tickets for taxis, or that paramedics take over the task (press release of 13 January 2021).
  • In the Netherland, KBO-PCOB denounces the fact that many older people have to travel far to get vaccinated, the recommended vaccination center being sometimes tens of miles away in another city. Finding safe and flexible transportation to reach the premises can be an issue for many people depending on others for transport (news of 04 February 2021). The concern that older people might have to travel long distances was also raised by PVÖ in Austria (release of 03 February 2021).

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