General practitioners will be able to vaccinate their patients against Covid. Some will start in May

The Health Ministry is addressing fears that the vaccination rate will be lower than needed to stop the virus from spreading.

(Source: TASR)

General practitioners could start administering the Covid-19 vaccine to their patients this month.

In Slovakia, vaccination currently takes place only in special vaccination points at hospitals, polyclinics and large-capacity vaccination centres like the one at the National Football Stadium in Bratislava. Doctors are now demanding that they be granted the ability to vaccinate their patients. They argue this may increase the vaccination uptake among the elderly.

"The trust in one's own doctor is higher and stronger than marketing campaigns, even more so among the elderly," said diabetologist and internal medicine specialist Ľudmila Kubincová from the northwestern-Slovak town of Púchov.

If people older than 60 could be given the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not require special storage conditions and could be administered by GPs, it may help increase the vaccination rate among those that are most vulnerable to Covid.

The vaccination of older people with AstraZeneca is common in other European countries, but the Slovak Health Ministry is not considering this option for now. They count on the campaign that was launched on Monday to increase the vaccination rate.

Statistics of the National Health Information Centre (NCZI) show that 55 percent of people older than 60 years have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine so far. Experts say the rate should be at least 80 percent.

In order to achieve herd immunity, 60 percent of Slovakia's population needs to be vaccinated (which means 3.3 million people). Currently, the rate is 19 percent. The NCZI head Robert Suja has recently questioned whether more than half of all inhabitants would get vaccinated in Slovakia, given the low rate of registration for vaccination in the NCZI online system.

People want the jab from their GP

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