Although some categories were included among the essential services of the pandemic and did not stop activities at any time, the same priority was not guaranteed at the time of the vaccination table.
Among these categories are supermarket workers. According to research by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the group, which lives with many customers on a daily basis, has a 53% risk of being infected by the virus. The category feels invisible, even though it did not stop during the pandemic.
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“It was essential to work harder, to be available for the population. When it came to benefiting from the vaccine, they didn’t talk or comment about us, right? There wasn’t any kind of commotion, nothing. Until today, as I haven’t reached my age yet, I’m waiting, right? And I’m going to work every day non-stop”, says Danielle Santana, cashier.
Another category that is part of the list of essential services is that of telemarketing attendants. Although customer service is by phone, the work is largely face-to-face. “We don’t talk about vaccination and even more about putting us in the priority position of essential workers to receive the vaccine, each one will receive it in his own time. No matter how essential you were to this whole pandemic, now you turn around and wait for your time to come of age. That’s more or less what happens”, asks the attendant João Felipe Cardeal.
In addition to being at high risk for contamination, these professionals can be vectors of the disease. “Despite having policies in some states that differ from others, we saw important sectors that have not been vaccinated so far, it has not yet been opened to these sectors and are people who deal with people on a daily basis,” said Aristotle Cardona, physician of family health and member of the Network of Popular Doctors and Doctors, which also assesses this as a problem in the elaboration of the plan.
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The doctor analyzes that “it is not just for them. It is noteworthy that this is not only for the person who receives the vaccine as individual protection, but if a person is in contact with several people in the same day, in a service considered essential, he/she it serves as a vector, it serves as a person who is spreading the virus to other people.” “So, let’s have no doubt that, in the end, the absence of a coordination, of a scientific committee, certainly opened a gap for all of these problems and this is one of them”, he concludes.
In addition, many clients do not adopt health protocols and put these professionals’ lives at risk. “There’s been a lot of trouble there for putting the mask down, leaving the nose exposed and even trying to get in without the mask,” laments Danielle. National and state class entities have been claiming the inclusion of these categories since the preparation of the vaccination plan. However, so far, many service workers considered essential, such as Danielle and João Felipe, remain vulnerable, working, and waiting for their turn in vaccination by age.
Source: BoF Pernambuco
Edition: Rebeca Cavalcante and Monyse Ravena