Vaccine rollout slows as fewer vaccines delivered in March

Health Ministry plans to open registration for vaccination for those over 50 next week.

(Source: TASR)

Some large-scale vaccination centres will not open this weekend, due to the shortages in AstraZeneca Covid vaccine supplies to Slovakia.

The Health Ministry is working on yet another adjustment to the vaccination strategy, to give preference to people with chronic diseases. Up until now, Slovakia's vaccine strategy has been determined by age.

Hospitals, especially those in eastern Slovakia, have been vaccinating younger people with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines even though they are supposed to reserve these for older people. This is because they do not have enough over seventies in their districts to use up their allocations.

The Health Ministry has proposed that left over doses be given to substitutes from lower down the priority list, preferentially those with chronic diseases. However, the current system, where the hospitals have to call people in for vaccination at short notice, is very laborious.

On the other hand, large-scale vaccination centres that are vaccinating people over 55 with the AstraZeneca vaccine would like to vaccinate more, but they lack supply.

By Thursday, March 25, more than 995,000 vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca had been supplied to Slovakia. However, March also saw 284,000 fewer vaccines delivered than originally planned.

So far, more than 580,000 people have received their first vaccine while 250,000 people have also received their second. Slovakia needs to vaccinate 3.3 million people at least to achieve herd immunity.

The Health Ministry plans to open registration for vaccination for those over 50 next week.

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