The elderly will be given preference. Vaccination strategy changes

Health care facilities can now be fined for undue preferential vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination in SlovakiaCOVID-19 vaccination in Slovakia (Source: SME)

The Health Ministry has reassessed the country's vaccination strategy.

Starting on Monday, January 18, they will start vaccinating old people in nursing homes via mobile vaccination units. Next will be people older than 75 years and people older than 65 years suffering from chronic diseases.

The first person in Slovakia received their jab on December 26, 2020. 55,100 people were vaccinated by January 15.

List of replacements

The Health Ministry originally intended to vaccinate people in four phases. In the first, health care professionals and other workers in health care facilities were to be vaccinated, together with critical infrastructure workers, such as the police and firefighters as well as workers in the energy industry, field social workers and employees of senior's homes.

Related articleGovernment to ramp up vaccine programme after slow start Read more 

Following the changes, people from critical infrastructure will be moved to the list of replacements, meaning they will receive the jab only if there is unused vaccine or someone fails to attend, the ministry informed on Facebook.

Yet, Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) failed to specify who actually qualifies as a critical infrastructure worker or how many of these people have already been vaccinated, saying it is confidential information.

In the second phase, residents of senior's homes and people over 65 are expected to receive their injections. Patients with serious diagnoses, such as diabetes, oncological diseases, auto-immune diseases, cardiovascular issues and other chronic diseases should be vaccinated in this phase too.

Related articleWhen will I get my COVID vaccine? FAQs about vaccination in Slovakia Read more 

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

In the final and fourth phase, members of the general public older than 18 will have access to the vaccine. Krajčí has recently said that it may be that the general public will not be vaccinated until the beginning of the summer.

Fines for preferential vaccination

Earlier this week, several media outlets reported on former elite tennis player Dominika Cibulková and her husband jumping the vaccination queue.

Related articleCibulková is not the only one. Several Olympians were vaccinated Read more 

To prevent such cases being repeated, the Health Ministry proposed that medical facilities be fined up to €10,000 for violating the rules. The proposal was approved by the parliament on January 14.

The amendment to the law on health care providers also enables them to vaccinate outside of medical facilities in order to speed up the vaccination process, and extends the group of people able to carry out diagnostic tests, the SITA newswire reported.

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