EuGMS Statement on Vaccination11.01.2021
Dear Colleagues and friends,
At present, a new stage is emerging in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccination in most European countries will start in the coming days and weeks and older patients, especially the most vulnerable, will be the first to be vaccinated. All this is happening at a time when the pandemic continues to spread across Europe with, as from the beginning, older, frail persons remaining the first victims of the disease, but also of the social consequences of the pandemic.
However, even if the results of several very recently published studies in the medical press show a very favorable benefit to risk ratio, of the so far approved COVID-19 vaccines, many important questions remain unanswered. What will be the reactions to the vaccine of the most vulnerable? What are the long-term adverse effects (beyond the duration of a few weeks currently known)? How long will the vaccine-induced immunization last, etc...?
Despite all these questions, the current context shows us that only vaccination can drastically reduce the spread of the pandemic and its dramatic consequences in the population of older people. We believe therefore that despite the uncertainties, vaccination of older people should be promoted and that this message should be clearly disseminated by European geriatricians while insisting on the need for the usual conditions: obtaining informed consent and respecting the vaccination contra-indications. For those unable to provide consent because of cognitive or communication impairments, the nationally agreed procedures for obtaining assent or proxy consent should be followed. Follow-up of vaccinated patients should be organised so that possible adverse effects can be detected, recorded, treated if possible and this information should be collated to increase scientific knowledge about this new vaccination.
For this reason, we also invite you to participate in the discussions within the EuGMS Task Force and debates related to the vaccination in your country and to inform all our European colleagues about the evolution of the situation in each country, i.e., start date of the vaccination, priority populations, problems encountered, attitude of the population, attitude of the medical world, etc.
We believe that together we will be able to contribute to improving of the very difficult situation of the most vulnerable populations. In this new phase of the pandemic, geriatricians have a great responsibility towards the general population and older persons in particular.
We send you our seasons’ greetings and our best wishes for the New Year.
The EuGMS Executive Board