Vaccination rollout turns into a race against Delta

Authorities worry about the low vaccine uptake in Slovakia as new information about the new variant adds to concerns.

(Source: AP/TASR)

Welcome to your weekly overview of news from Slovakia – the last before our summer break. A devastating tornado just across the border in Czechia last week shocked people in Slovakia. The Delta variant of Covid-19 is confirmed as having arrived, amid criticism of politicians for the lacklustre vaccination campaign. After years, the government has finally apologised for violence used against Roma in a notorious police raid.

Please note that Last Week in Slovakia will take a summer break during July.

Throughout July, we will send out a special edition of the newsletter, with slightly reduced content. Subscribers will still receive their weekly overview of news in PDF format as part of the Last Week in Slovakia newsletter.

We’ll be back to regular operations in August, with our commentary and news overview prepared by me, Michaela Terenzani.

Delta confirmed amid low vaccination uptake

Slovakia is happily diving into the summer holiday season even though only about one-third of its population is vaccinated against Covid-19: nowhere near the level it will need to keep its head above water once the Delta-variant-driven third wave arrives in Central Europe.

The third wave seems to be just a question of time, not so much because the Delta variant was already confirmed in Slovakia last week, but because of the increased movement of people around the continent and beyond. People are travelling for holidays and for the football matches of the European Football Championship, which are inexplicably being held in the presence of tens of thousands of people (mostly unmasked and possibly unvaccinated – no one seems to know, or to be checking) at a number of stadiums around Europe, including in nearby Budapest.

The authorities have set out to push the message that full vaccination is the only way people can protect themselves and those they interact with against the new strain. Even the central bank called for vaccination when presenting its forecast for the country’s economy last week.

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