Vaccination against Covid-19 starting at care homes on Sunday

Ljubljana – Vaccination against Covid-19 is expected to start at care homes around Slovenia on Sunday, Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj told the press on Wednesday. According to government Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin, there will be enough vaccine in the first phase for vaccination of all care home residents who have not been infected yet.

According to the data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik, 10,155 out of the total of around 21,000 care home residents tested positive until Tuesday.

Slovenia meanwhile expects to receive 9,750 vaccine shots in the first batch, with another 6,825 to arrive by the end of the year, according to the Health Ministry.

Some 60% of care home residents have expressed interest in getting vaccinated, while the figure for staff is lower, the ministry said.

The truck with the first shipment of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech will head from Pfizer’s factory in Belgium to Slovenia on Thursday, Pfizer’s spokesperson for Slovenia Urška Lakner told the STA.

The plan is for the shipment to arrive on Saturday, she said, adding that each EU country will get the same amount of shots, that is 9,750.

Minister Cigler Kralj, who is in charge of social affairs and equal opportunities, said care home residents will be the first to get vaccinated because they are the most endangered and vulnerable group.

While he could not tell exactly how many residents and staff had expressed interest in vaccination, the first batch should suffice for all those who had expressed interest.

Kacin confirmed this, asserting there would be enough vaccine in the first phase for all care home residents who had not yet been infected.

Cigler Kralj said the vaccination in all care homes would be carried out in one day. The care homes have received detailed instructions on how to prepare for it.

He also urged care home managements to try to encourage staff to get vaccinated, especially because the virus had mostly entered care homes through staff that showed no symptoms of infection.

A slight drop in the number of infections at care homes has been recorded in recent days, which the minister thinks is a result of rapid tests and safety measures.

Lakner told the STA that the next shipment of 6,825 shots is expected in Slovenia next week, between 28 and 31 December, but she could not give a specific date.

Both shipments will be delivered to UKC Ljubljana, the country’s main hospital, whereupon the National Institute of Public Health will deliver it to end-users.

Further shipments for Slovenia are planned for January. “We expect additional shipments every week,” she said adding a weekly shipment would be approximately at the level of the first two ones – at 16,575 doses.

The plan is to be in contact with the government’s Covid-19 task force weekly to see if Pfizer can deliver the planned amount of vaccine and if everything is ready in the country for taking the shipment and distribute it further.