The Slovenia Times

Ways to improve vaccine uptake discussed as govt meets local officials

Health & Medicine

Brdo pri Kranju - Government officials and health professionals called on mayors on Wednesday to help convince the people to get vaccinated. Health professionals, including minister Janez Poklukar, warned that the situation is serious, with infections on the rise again.

Prime Minister Janez Janša said it was quite clear what lay ahead in the coming weeks and months if we did not achieve adequate vaccination. There are no more excuses, he said, as there are enough vaccines now.

He added that the rise in infections could no longer be blamed on science, the EU or the government, but on each individual's decision to take or not to take the opportunity to be vaccinated.

If we do not seize the opportunity, we will also waste the chance to recover from the epidemic, said Janša, recalling that the economy is doing well at the moment and money for investments will be available.

"But if we have to deal with lockdowns again, we will miss our chance," Janša added. He believes that the next few weeks will be very important.

Health Minister Poklukar said that the current sense of security due to favourable infection figures would not translate into a secure autumn, as the delta version of the new coronavirus is also spreading in Slovenia.

According to unofficial data, 70 cases of the delta variant have already been confirmed this week, more than in the previous seven weeks.

"Now is the ideal time for vaccination, as that will be the only way to prevent a fourth wave, keep schools open and the economy running," added Poklukar.

As mayors have better access to people in their local communities, the Health Minister urged them to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Milan Krek, head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), said that the situation was bad all over the world, which is sliding into a new wave of the pandemic.

"We are dealing with a much more infectious virus compared to last autumn. Self-protection measures - masks, disinfection, ventilation - need to be stepped up," he added.

He was also clear that any deaths from Covid-19 in the autumn will be completely unnecessary, as there is enough vaccine at people's disposal to prevent them.

"The vaccines offer protection against deaths and intensive care hospitalisations. Now is the time to save lives," added Krek. He called on mayors to organise their municipalities well, placing particular importance on vaccinating as many people over 50 as possible by autumn.

Krek also considers children over the age of 12 to be a very important population, as their immunisation will be crucial for a normal education process in the autumn, otherwise the prospect of distance education is looming again.

Mateja Logar, head of the government Covid-19 advisory group, said that there were still Covid-19 patients who, according to statistics, should have been vaccinated long ago, but decided against it because they had false information or were in doubt.

"I ask that each and every one of us do what we can to achieve sufficient immunisation, save lives and return to the life we knew before the epidemic," said Logar.

She also reminded younger generations that acute illness is not the only problem with Covid-19, as a fifth of people continue to have various problems for several months after recovering from the virus.


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