Health experts have highlighted the benefits of vaccinating young children against Covid-19 as Slovakia starts jabbing kids aged 5-11.
Vaccinations were opened to this age group at the start of the year with the first doses given on January 6 in Bratislava.
Take-up rates have so far been mixed, with demand varying around the country.
“We are pleased there has been high interest in vaccinations among children from five to 11 years-old,” Director of the Children’s Faculty Hospital in Kosice, Jaroslava Feketová, told the TASR newswire, adding the hospital had been forced to add extra dates for vaccinations to cope with demand.
However, low demand has meant that vaccinations for this age group will not be carried out at the mass vaccination centre at the National Football Stadium in the capital beyond January 17, Tomáš Szalay, Head of the Bratislava self-governing region’s health department, said.
As of January 12, a total of 6,936 children aged between five and 11 had received a Covid-19 vaccine. A further 527 children have registered to get jabbed.
The Health Ministry told The Slovak Spectator it is expanding vaccination capacity for this age group nationwide, and that it has ensured enough vaccines are available for its programme “to continue seamlessly”.
Helping cut the spread
The opening of the vaccination programme for young children has begun as infection rates in the country are expected to soar with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 expected to become the dominant infection in Slovakia very soon, and as kids return to schools after Christmas holidays.