Vaccination: an algorithm to identify priority sick patients

(Belga) People suffering from a chronic pathology and priority in the vaccination campaign are identified by means of the databases of mutual insurance companies and computerized medical files, said Tuesday the co-head of the Vaccination task force, Sabine Stordeur, during the press briefing of the Sciensano Public Health Institute and the Crisis Center. Searching for diagnostic and treatment codes using an algorithm sends a personal invitation to be vaccinated to affected patients.

Priority vaccination of people suffering from chronic pathologies seems to cause a great deal of misunderstanding, especially within the medical profession, said Ms. Stordeur. “If these people benefit from vaccination earlier than other groups, it is because of the risks they run in the event of infection with Covid-19”, underlines the co-head of the Vaccination task force. “So that we can protect this population as it should be, it is obviously necessary to send them a personal invitation and therefore, to be able to identify them. When age is the selection criterion, the information is present in the national register and allows the sending of a nominative invitation to the citizens concerned. When a chronic pathological condition is the selection criterion, it is the diagnostic and treatment codes which are sought thanks to an algorithm in the databases of the mutual insurance companies and in the computerized medical records. ” Ms. Stordeur adds that no data related to the patient’s state of health, the type of comorbidity to which he is affected or the treatment he is receiving, will be requested. “It is therefore not a question of creating a data bank on the health of certain citizens but of establishing a list of people who should primarily benefit from vaccination.” The head of the task force stresses that the success of the vaccination campaign depends on the role played by everyone. “Vaccination is much more than a personal choice, it is a collective commitment in which you take part, whether you are a doctor or a citizen.” (Belga)

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