Issue

Vol 134 No 1538: 9 July 2021

PDF

Issue Summary

Viewpoint
SUMMARY

Addressing structural discrimination: prioritising people with mental health and addiction issues during the COVID-19 pandemic | OPEN ACCESS

This paper resulted in people with mental health and addiction issues being recognised as a priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations. People with mental health and addiction issues have a significantly reduced life expectancy, much of which can be attributed to physical illnesses that, if recognised earlier and treated fairly, could have been mitigated. Structural discrimination worsens these physical health inequities. Structural discrimination is where the policies and practices of health care organisations impact unfairly on access to and quality of care. An expert advisory group, convened as part of the Aotearoa Equally Well collaborative, considered findings of a literature review on the vulnerability of people with mental health and addiction issues of contracting and dying from COVID-19. The group concluded mental health and addiction issues should be recognised as underlying health conditions that increase COVID-19 vulnerability, and that people with these issues should be prioritised for vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccination sequencing framework adopted the recommendations, placing people with mental health and addiction issues in vaccination group 2 or 3.

Viewpoint
SUMMARY

Addressing structural discrimination: prioritising people with mental health and addiction issues during the COVID-19 pandemic | OPEN ACCESS

This paper resulted in people with mental health and addiction issues being recognised as a priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations. People with mental health and addiction issues have a significantly reduced life expectancy, much of which can be attributed to physical illnesses that, if recognised earlier and treated fairly, could have been mitigated. Structural discrimination worsens these physical health inequities. Structural discrimination is where the policies and practices of health care organisations impact unfairly on access to and quality of care. An expert advisory group, convened as part of the Aotearoa Equally Well collaborative, considered findings of a literature review on the vulnerability of people with mental health and addiction issues of contracting and dying from COVID-19. The group concluded mental health and addiction issues should be recognised as underlying health conditions that increase COVID-19 vulnerability, and that people with these issues should be prioritised for vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccination sequencing framework adopted the recommendations, placing people with mental health and addiction issues in vaccination group 2 or 3.