Slovakia has begun offering a fourth dose of Covid vaccinations to people over 50.
The Health Ministry announced that anyone aged 50 and over who had a previous booster more than four months ago or who had Covid more than three months ago is now eligible to register for a fourth dose of a vaccine.
The decision follows a recommendation from the ministry's immunisation commission.
Cases highest since April
So far, fourth doses have been available only to people with compromised immune systems, but it is expected to become available also to immuno-depressed children younger than 12 next week, the ministry announced.
The decision to expand the offer of fourth doses to other groups of the population comes following a rise in positive cases during the current wave of the ongoing pandemic. On July 20, the National Health Information Centre reported 1,159 new cases confirmed with PCR tests - the highest number of daily new cases since the end of April. The positivity rate remains high: the 1,159 cases were out of 2,422 tests performed.
As of July 20, there were seven new Covid deaths, while 396 people are in hospital with the disease.
Updated vaccines expected in September
The vaccine used for the fourth doses is the original version of the Comirnaty vaccine by Pfizer. This vaccine will be used regardless of what vaccine the person received previously.
Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) has said that modified vaccines for the Omicron variant are expected to be delivered to Slovakia in September.
In the Czech Republic, fourth doses have been available since Monday (July 18) for every adult (over 18 years old) whose last vaccination was four months or more ago. The Czech Health Ministry has recommended people over 60 and at-risk groups especially come forward for a fourth dose.