Covid vaccination in social services is lagging behind

Vaccination plans show that although social services fall into the first phase of priority vaccinations, this is far from the full range of social service coverage. Providers of field social services have to wait longer for vaccinations than residential social services.

The population is classified into vaccination plans according to age, medical history and profession. The so-called phase 1A includes the most risky groups of the population, such as seniors over the age of 80, seniors and clients in residential social services, but of course also the staff caring for them. They are scheduled to be vaccinated during January and February 2021.

But even here there is a slight nervousness. “Although we have residential services as well as residential services, no one has contacted us to date when we will be vaccinated and how to prepare systemically for the whole thing, and we are already in the second half of January,” complains Štěpánka Holmanová, director of the Duha nursing home.

On the other hand, purely field care services belong to phase 1B, ie when it comes to vaccinations, they are not completely equal with homes for the elderly. Thus, the field care services could reach the vaccine between February and June 2021, which is a slightly later date and, above all, a much wider time limit than in phase 1A.

“Our employees commute to about 150 clients a day, which they care for, but they cannot disinfect their house or work in pre-arranged hygienic conditions for each of them, as is the case in homes for the elderly,” says Jan Křížek, director of Digitus Mission, a social social society services. He adds that the risk of infection, whether for employees or the clients themselves, is the same in field services as in residential services, if not greater.

The capacity problem with registrations for vaccination will be solved mainly by the distribution of the onslaught, says the expert on digitization

However, the Ministry of Health considers vaccination in residential services to be a priority. “The risk of seniors staying in groups is significantly higher than in isolated ones. Protecting the most vulnerable is therefore an absolute priority, ”opposes Barbora Peterová, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health.

Companies that provide social rehabilitation or tutoring of children in hostels also draw attention to the high risk of infection in field services. “I consider the vaccination of our employees to be very important, because we visit older clients as well as children in hostels where there are often poor hygienic conditions and these people also live there in larger groups,” points out Ivana Hudcová, director of the civic association Child and Horse.

In the case of field services, however, this is not a small handful of providers. There are approximately 800 such organizations in the Czech Republic.

Field social service providers understand the lack of vaccines, but point out the dangers of not only unvaccinated seniors, but also workers who cannot care for the elderly in the event of coronavirus infection and can further spread the disease to at-risk groups.

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