UPDATED: JAN 7, 2021

When will I get my COVID vaccine? FAQs about vaccination in Slovakia

Here’s what we know about the vaccination process in Slovakia so far.

(Source: TASR/AP)

When will COVID vaccination start in Slovakia?

As an EU member state, Slovakia depends on the approval of vaccines by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The first, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, received registration on December 21.

It is expected to arrive in Slovakia on December 26 and vaccination is planned to start on December 27.

The name of the first person to receive the injection has not been announced yet, but infectologist Pavol Jarčuška hinted that it will probably be a health care worker.

The delivery of 10,000 vaccines is expected, which will suffice in vaccinating 5,000 people at first, as the vaccination requires two shots for complete immunity.

Will the vaccination be obligatory in Slovakia?

The Health Ministry claims it will be voluntary and free of any additional charges for people, paid from public health insurance.

What vaccines will be available in Slovakia?

It depends on the approval of the EU. The first vaccine available should be the one by Pfizer/BioNTech, then from Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford. The latter two are expected to arrive in Slovakia in January 2021. The EU also has contracts for vaccines from Curevac, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, but without further specification on when they could be registered and available.

When will my turn for the vaccination come?

It depends mostly on your age and occupation. The Slovak authorities have prepared a vaccination strategy that prioritises some groups of inhabitants before others.

In the first phase, health care professionals and other workers in health care facilities will be vaccinated, together with critical infrastructure workers, such as the police, firefighters as well as workers in the energy industry, field social workers and employees of senior homes.

In the second phase, residents of senior homes and people above the age of 65 will receiving their injections. Patients with serious diagnoses, such as diabetes, oncological diseases, auto-immune diseases, cardiovascular issues and other chronic diseases will be vaccinated in this phase.

In the third phase, people in communities with a high risk of fast coronavirus spread will be vaccinated. These are teachers, people living in marginalised Roma communities, homeless people and asylum seekers.

In the final and fourth phase, the general public older than 18 will have access to the vaccination.

Will children get vaccinated, too?

No, they will not, at least not in the first four phases as planned for now. The reason is that vaccines in clinical trials are not tested on children as a rule. This is why children and youth have been globally excluded from vaccination,

Where will the vaccination take place? Should I visit my GP?

25 vaccination centres will emerge around Slovakia to start with. The Health Ministry has yet to specify exactly where, but they should be in hospitals.

The number of vaccination spots will grow with the number of imported vaccines to up to 79, so there should eventually be a vaccination centre in each district.

How will I know that it is my turn for the vaccination? Will I get an invitation?

The Health Ministry will first publish a call for registration. You will fill in the registration form on the korona.gov.sk website and receive a text message to confirm your registration.

Another text message will give you the specific date, time and place of your vaccination appointment, according to your residence. This is similar to how the registration for PCR tests works.

Yet another text message will then notify you about the vaccination 24 hours before your appointment.

You will arrive at the vaccination centre per your appointment, fill in a questionnaire about your health condition; a health care professional will do a quick examination, ask you about some acute symptoms, such as cough, cold and fever; and you will sign two copies of informed consent – one for you to keep and one for the health care records. You will receive your injection and then wait another 30 minutes in the waiting room, to make sure you are monitored for possible side effects.

The side effects that may occur after the injection are a reddish and painful needle mark, muscle pain and slightly increased temperature.

The same process should be repeated at the revaccination, depending on the type of vaccine, in about two or three weeks.

I have already had COVID-19. Can I receive an injection?

It depends on when you had COVID-19. It applies that 90 days have to pass until you can receive an injection.

When in 2021 is it estimated that the vaccination of the general public can take place?

Authorities estimate that it can be at the turn of March and April.

However, it will depend on the supplies and accessibility of vaccines and also how many people in the first three phases will opt for an injection.

The vaccination is expected to stretch at least until the end of 2021. The Health Ministry assumes that a vaccination centre will be able to cover 500 people per day.

Once I am vaccinated, will I be able to live like before the pandemic?

Probably no. To achieve herd immunity, at least 60 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated, the strategy estimates. This means about 3.3 million people in Slovakia. The strategy reads that if the rate drops to 50 percent, the growth of new cases will not be eliminated, even if the effectiveness of the vaccine is 100 percent.

Experts warn that people will probably be required to wear masks and social distance, especially between the first and second dose of the vaccine.

It is not clear if there will be any advantages for vaccinated people yet. However, a vaccinated person should receive a proof of vaccination, which may be required for international travel, for example.

Do I have to undergo testing before vaccination?

No. The Health Ministry said that neither antigen nor PCR testing will be mandatory before receiving the jab.

How can I cancel a scheduled date for vaccination?

Only a worker at the Call Centre of the National Health Information Centre (NCZI) can cancel the date. When registering for a vaccination, you must choose a date that you are able to fulfill. To cancel the appointment, there has to be a serious reason, for example, illness.

How do I proceed when I want to cancel my scheduled vaccination?

You must contact the Call Centre of the NCZI. It is possible to do this in two ways: either by phone on 02/3235 3030 or directly via the website. You must state your reason when cancelling the appointment.

If I cancel the date of my vaccination, how can I request a new one?

You need to register again at https://www.old.korona.gov.sk/covid-19-vaccination-form.php

When you cancel a vaccination, the soonest possible date for registration is after two days. Otherwise, the system will report that the registration already exists.

If I re-schedule my appointment, because I cancelled the original date, do I use the COVID-19-PASS from the first appointment?

You must fill in the whole registration form again. If a person already has the COVID-19-PASS in the system, it will remain there. There is only one for all operations for each person.

When I go for the second dose of the vaccine do I go to the same place as the first time?

Yes, the place remains the same.

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