Top health officials warn about possibility of fifth Covid wave

Ljubljana – Health Minister Janez Poklukar and the head of the Medical Chamber Bojana Beović warned about the possibility of the fifth wave of Covid infections. Poklukar thinks that another wave could emerge in February next year as a result of an insufficient vaccination rate.

The epidemic could have been contained had not the new variants reduced the vaccines’ protection, said Beović, who is also the head of the national advisory committee on immunisation. She noted that booster doses can boost the vaccines’ effectiveness and urged people to get them.

A higher vaccination rate would help bring hospitalisations down and improve the situation in the country in general, she said.

Beović also warned that protection against the virus of those who have recovered from Covid-19 had been slowly waning.

There is not a lot of data on this, but one of the Israeli studies shows that people who had Covid-19 last year fall ill again twice more often than those who had the disease this year. She therefore urged reconvalescents to get vaccinated as well to boost their protection levels.

Beović told Radio Slovenija earlier that the Covid pass mandate could be amended to make booster doses mandatory. The pass would then be valid only if the person has recovered from Covid-19, has been tested or has received a booster dose.

Asked when this change could be put in place, she said that given the epidemiological situation, Slovenia would “surely be among the countries that will be quicker to make such a change”.

Poklukar also urged vaccination, saying that it was most important for people over 50 to get vaccinated. The average age of Covid patients is currently 70 years, the minister said. Whereas most people in regular Covid wards are over 50, there are also younger patients in intensive care units.