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I find something offensive about healthcare workers prioritising
themselves as high-priority for the receipt of a health service (1). The
consequence of applying such advice is that that people of equal health
status yet are not in employment, or maybe without dependants, should be
given low priority for healthcare. These criteria, which would mean (for
example) that ~50% of OAPs would be given low priority status, cannot be
We live in a complex society and the absence of electricians,
plumbers, bus drivers and security personnel would be noted long before
the absence of healthcare workers.
There is some rationale for prioritizing healthcare workers on
grounds of "special risk". Of course those with high occupational
exposure should obtain all appropriate vaccines via their employers’
occupational health services. Except for those at very high risk (e.g.,
ICU doctors), however, it is likely that many non-NHS workers will have
high viral load exposures equal to that of health staff.
Do we doctors really want to be associated with a policy which
irrationally prioritises our health and well being above that of our
patients or of the population in general?
1. Healthcare workers should get top priority for vaccination, WHO
says. John Zarocostas. BMJ: 18 July 2009. Volume 339, page 125