The Slovenia Times

Kacin says delays in vaccination could still be compensated

Health & Medicine

Ljubljana - Jelko Kacin, the coordinator for the logistics of mass vaccination, told the STA on Monday he was happy with the vaccination process so far. He is confident that with increased supplies Slovenia can make up for some of the lost time. The country is very hopeful about the Janssen Pharmaceutica vaccine, which is yet to be approved.

Slovenia received more than 19,000 dosas of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Monday, while another 12,000 shots of AstraZeneca are expected on Thursday.

The Pfizer shipment, which will be distributed in the next couple of days, is intended for older people, who are expected to receive it on Wednesday.

According to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the shipment is intended for those waiting for the second shot.

The next shipment of the Moderna vaccine will contain 12,000 doses and is expected on Friday, the NIJZ said. Another 18,000 doses of the vaccine are expected by the end of the month.

In April, four shipments of almost 41,000 doses of Pfizer and 28,000 doses of Moderna are expected. It is not yet clear how much vaccine AstraZeneca will deliver next month.

A part of the next shipment of the Moderna vaccine will be set aside for the second shots to prevent any delays in case of delays in the supply, Kacin said.

He said all countries had problems with Moderna, which had been shipping most of its products to the US. A contract on additional dosages has been signed with the company, Kacin said.

Commenting on the vaccination of employees in education, which started today, he noted that the first teachers had been vaccinated in Końćevje and that mass vaccination of teachers elsewhere would follow in the coming days.

In Maribor, where the vaccination will start in the second half of the week, 70% of the teachers have signed up for vaccination, he said, assuring that the country had enough vaccines for teachers.

"We have organised things in line with our wish to vaccinate all teachers by the end of the month in case our epidemiological situation deteriorates again.

"If teaching is to continue at schools, teachers must be vaccinated. Those who decide against vaccination will continue to be tested every week," he said.

He assessed the vaccination so far had been going well, but there was still room for improvement. Especially with older people sometimes some applications get lost, as some apply for the vaccination with their doctors, others online, he explained. "But now all this should be connected already and efficient," he said.

Major vaccination centres are well organised, he said. "If someone does not show up, we always have others who jump in. We do not have any vaccine left over."

The activities promoting mass vaccination are planned for when more vaccine will be available, he said. "At this point it doesn't make sense, as the worst publicity is urging people to get vaccinated and then not having enough vaccine."

It is expected that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will give its conditional marketing authorisation to the vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, the Belgium-based division of Johnson & Johnson, on Thursday and then the first shipment is expected within 30 days, in the second half of April. This is a single-shot vaccine.

Kacin would not speak of exact figures, but he expects around 230,000 doses in April, May and June, which means that many people will be inoculated.

This could make up for some of the delays happening now, he said.

The supply of AstraZeneca and especially Pfizer is on the rise. In the second quarter, around 342,000 dosages of the latter are expected, which means 171,000 vaccinated people, he said.

"Logistically, we are organised to accept, store, repack and deliver between 500,000 and 600,000 doses. Now we are warming up, so that when mass vaccination starts we can increase these vaccination points," he said.

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