Covid hits poor the hardest, Luxembourg study shows
The pandemic is hitting people with the lowest incomes much harder than richer people, a Luxembourg study found this week, as the type of work, access to care and housing conditions can mean a higher risk of ending up in hospital.
The study came as the country started thinking about how to terminate the social restrictions that came with Covid-19, which has killed 834 people so far in Luxembourg. One of the problems is that almost a third of the population has not yet received any vaccine against the disease.
The lowest income earners were almost twice as likely to end up in hospital as those in the top salary bracket in the Grand Duchy, the preliminary results of a study carried out by the LISER research institute found.
Poor housing might provide fewer options for patients to isolate from their family members once they catch the disease, while low-paid jobs may have a higher exposure to the virus. People in trade, hospitality, transport and teaching stood a higher chance of ending up in hospital than others, for instance.
People in lower-income brackets may also have less access to care said the presentation, which based itself on data from March 2020 to July 2021.
Luxembourg has handed out at least one vaccination to 415,000 people, roughly two-thirds of the total, putting it well behind some other European countries, and is now mulling tougher measures to get people to take the shot.
Nevertheless, a petition against "mandatory" vaccines gained enough signatures in just two days to put the issue on the agenda of parliament.
Although ruling out mandatory vaccinations at present, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said the government is re-evaluating the issue regularly. Should vaccination rates not increase at the level hoped by ministers, the alternative, Lenert believes, is to restrict access to public events for the unvaccinated, “rather than going in the direction of mandatory vaccines,” Lenert said.
“Life must go on… the health pass offers the possibility of (a return to) normality. We have had a lot of months to get accustomed to it,” she told the L’Essentiel newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.
The country “cannot remain eternally in pandemic mode any longer”, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said earlier this week.
(Additional reporting by John Monaghan)