Task force reportedly recommends priority use of mRNA vaccines

Ljubljana – The Covid-19 vaccination task force at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has decided to recommend priority use of mRNA vaccines over vector vaccines, according to unofficial information obtained by the STA.

According to the task force led by infectious diseases specialist Bojana Beović, vector vaccines would continue to be used, but only at explicit individual request.

The decision adopted on Thursday was made on the basis of data on rare adverse effects of vector vaccines and the higher efficacy of mRNA vaccines.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that efficacy of the Moderna vaccine is 93%, of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine 88% and of the Janssen vector vaccine 71%.

The study conducted between March and August involved 3,600 hospitalised adults whose immune systems had not been weakened prior to hospitalisation.

The public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported that the task force recommends that vector vaccines be used only if the person to be vaccinated provides written consent. This would also apply to the Moderna vaccine for persons under 18.

While the official minutes from the session of the task force is not yet available, the Health Ministry told the STA that Minister Janez Poklukar had called Beović today, who had informed him that consultations were still under way.

“When the conclusions are known, expectedly at the beginning of the next week, Poklukar and Beović will inform the public,” the ministry added.

This comes as the use of the single-shot Janssen in Slovenia was suspended at the end of September after a 20-year-old woman died due to brain haemorrhaging and blood clots a fortnight after she received the shot.

The move was proposed by the task force and the suspension is in place until all the circumstances of the woman’s death have been cleared up, Minister Poklukar said.

At the moment, Slovenia uses the mRNK vaccine produced by Pfizer and Moderna and the vector vaccine by AstraZeneca.

According to the NIJZ, the country has in stock more than 537,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine with expiry dates between February and April 2022 and 125,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine with expiry dates between December 2021 and March 2022.

Also available to Slovenian residents are 13,300 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with expiry date on 30 November, while 45,600 doses of the Janssen vaccine with expiry date in June 2023 are in quarantine.