National Covid-19 vaccination programme ready

Ljubljana – The Slovenian government debated on Thursday a draft national Covid-19 vaccination programme, which will form the basis for a vaccination strategy once a vaccine is available. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar indicated Slovenia might get the first doses of the vaccine in December.

“We have the first serious prospects of being able to get the first doses of the vaccine in December,” which means vaccination could start in the second half of that month, he told the press yesterday.

Gantar said the Health Ministry would have a meeting next week with Pfizer, one of the first companies likely to receive approval for the vaccine from the European Medicines Agency.

The European Union said this week it was very close to signing a contract with Pfizer and BioNTech, which have jointly developed a vaccine, for 300 million doses.

Gantar said there would not be enough shots initially for everyone in the EU, which meant each government would have to design a priority list.

“This means vaccinating high-risk groups first: nursing home residents, health workers, chronic patients and so on,” he said.

The national Covid-19 vaccination programme says that Slovenia must make sure “vaccination services have sufficient resources to perform their tasks”. Their main job in the initial stage will be to distribute the supplies of the vaccine.

The subsequent vaccination strategy will hinge on the available vaccines and the latest information about the vaccines.

In the afternoon, Doroteja Novak Gosarič of the Health Ministry said at the government press conference that the strategy would be ready by the end of the year at the latest. Information serving as a basis for the strategy will be available at the end of November at best, she said.

She noted that vaccination would not be mandatory but it would be free of charge for citizens.

The priority groups for vaccination and any special recommendations will be included in the strategy once the details of individual vaccines, including storage and supply chain requirements, are known.