Non-vaccinated will not pay for tests for work, school or shops

Hundreds of people protested against the amendment that the parliament passed on Sunday morning.

PM Eduard HegerPM Eduard Heger (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

Despite initial differences, the coalition has eventually reached an agreement on the draft amendment that will allow for advantages for the vaccinated. The parliamentary vote took place amid a protest that hundreds of people who refuse to get vaccinated staged in front of the parliamentary building.

Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský's proposal aims to allow the vaccinated to freely enter facilities and shops. The people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 would be required to show the negative test result to be able to enter the facilities.

The coalition Sme Rodina was against the proposal initially, arguing that the tests that are required are expensive for people since the testing sites that performed antigen testing free of charge were discontinued as of July 1. Sme Rodina leader Boris Kollár argued that nobody can be forced to get vaccinated, economically or otherwise.

The coalition later agreed that their MPs would support the proposal if the state covers the costs of some tests for people, but on Friday, July 23, Sme Rodina said they still had reservations. MPs voted to continue the parliamentary session over the weekend. On Saturday, the coalition partners agreed on the final arrangement. The parliament passed the law on Sunday morning.

Testing was the bone of contention

The representatives of the four coalition parties reached a compromise before the first-reading vote on the amendment on Saturday evening.

If the epidemic situation worsens in Slovakia, the non-vaccinated will not be required to pay for tests that might be needed when going to work, school, and to essential shops. Cross-border workers will also be tested free of charge in state-run testing sites using antigen tests.

In the event that the third wave hits the country hard, employees will be able to get tested at their workplace free of charge.

The state would also cover the costs of two PCR tests a month per person. PCR tests that one is required to take after they have been in touch with a Covid-positive person, if they have Covid symptoms, if they are preparing for surgery or if they are children going to a camp, will remain free of charge.

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