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Chronic illness patients start getting Covid-19 jabs

As of Tuesday, March 23, chronic illness patients will start to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Latvia.

There are around 166,000 chronic illness sufferers in Latvia, while 23,000 have applied for vaccines against Covid-19 so far.

This priority group shall include population with the following diseases:

  • malignant tumors,
  • chronic respiratory diseases,
  • chronic cardiovascular diseases,
  • chronic kidney diseases,
  • chronic liver diseases,
  • chronic nervous system diseases,
  • diabetes,
  • immunosuppression,
  • obesity,
  • severe mental illness.

These are disease groups that have been shown to be at high risk for Covid-19, said Jana Feldmane, head of the Environment Health Division of the Ministry of Health. At the same time, she acknowledged that only a doctor can assess the health risks associated with Covid-19 in certain diagnoses.

If it is not clear to a patient whether their disease is chronic, it can be found out in the practice of their family doctor, said the family doctor Ainis Dzalbs.

Family doctor Sarmīte Veide told Latvian Television that some chronic illness patients are upset finding out that their disease is "not severe enough". For example, it is said that persons with chronic respiratory diseases will now be able to get their jabs, but it turns out that it only applies to those who are constantly on medication or who go to hospitals often due to asthma, said Veide. But a patient with asthma in a lighter form gets rejected.

According to Veide, this order has been recommended by the Disease Prevention and Control Center, the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization, but could even further diminish the trust in the vaccination process.

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