Someone faints, everyone else leaves. Roma are often scared of vaccination

The Covid vaccination uptake in marginalised communities is far below the national average, provoking concerns ahead of Delta wave.

The pilot project of in-field vaccination of pupils was launched in the village of Kecerovce.The pilot project of in-field vaccination of pupils was launched in the village of Kecerovce. (Source: The Education Ministry via SITA)

Slovakia’s marginalised Roma communities are only 7 percent vaccinated against Covid-19.

The state, self-governing provinces and individual hospitals and clinics do venture into these communities regularly in mobile vaccination units, but they often encounter fear and mistrust. As autumn approaches, there are fears that these communities will become hotbeds for the Delta variant of Covid-19. Besides low vaccination rates, a key reason for this are poor living conditions, bad hygiene, overcrowded habitations and difficulties or the inability to remain quarantined.

The power of local leaders

One of the few happy exceptions in the gloomy case of Roma vaccination rates is the village of Ostrovany in the Sabinov district. Over a decade ago the village became infamous for a 150-metre long wall that separated the Roma community from the town’s other denizens.

The Atlas of Roma communities reports 2,200 people living in the village these days, of which about 80 to 90 percent are Roma. 900 are vaccinated against Covid-19. Taking into account figures from the Sabinov district, or even the entirety of the Prešov Region, this number is above average. Furthermore, a large part of the village’s population comprises children; the mayor estimates that there are only about 1,200 adults in the village. “900 is a great number, what do you think?” mayor Rastislav Popuša told the Sme daily.

Related articleMarginalised Roma vaccine-shy as long as majority remain lukewarm towards vaccines Read more 

The mayor’s recipe for success was relatively simple.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

News digest: Number of cases double in a week, state of emergency not ruled out

Meteorologists issued warnings against intense rainfall for the southern and western districts of Slovakia. There will be regular flights from two Russian cities to Bratislava.


13 h

Connecting families with neurodiverse or differently-abled children

Parents and children from Bratislava, Vienna and surroundings are invited.


21 h
Iranian comedian Nastaran "Nasi" Alaghmandan Motlagh is one of the faces of the fjúžn festival, which will kick off in Bratislava on September 16, 2021.

Iranian comedian: I tried to be Slovak. It was a move in the wrong direction

In addition to reciting Sohrab Sepehri, stand-up comedian Nastaran "Nasi" Alaghmandan Motlagh speaks about the fjúžn festival and the period in her life when her family left Iran and moved to Slovakia.


14. sep
Skryť Close ad