Vaccination plan presented as vaccination of elderly over 80 starts

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Brdo pri Kranju/Ljubljana – PM Janez Janša and NIJZ director Milan Krek presented Slovenia’s vaccination plan until the end of June, as vaccination was launched around the country on Tuesday for the elderly who are not in residential care and are older than 80.

The country expects to get some 17,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine a week until the end of March, or a total of 245,500 doses.

People older than 80 will thus be vaccinated first, to be followed by those older than 70 in the last week of January.

A second dose will also be administered to those who were already vaccinated, expectedly already next week. Almost 110,000 doses are to be used for a second jab.

By 1 February a total of 9,200 doses of Moderna vaccine are to arrive in Slovenia, to be used for immobile persons who are at home.

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If a person fell ill with Covid-19, they will not be vaccinated up to six months after the disease, said the head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

Janša said those residents who did not belong to any risk group should not expect to get invited to vaccination before spring even if they had registered for it online.

He said the vaccination plan was based on the vaccination strategy the government adopted in early December and sets down vaccination by priority groups.

Slovenia can count to receive 2.27 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year, which should suffice for vaccinating 1.13 million people.

Around 1.8 million doses will come from Pfizer and BioNTech. Another 470,00 doses of Moderna vaccine, the second vaccine approved in Europe, have also been ordered.

However, a major uncertainty are delivery dates, with Janša saying they were not guaranteed except that the vaccine would arrive by the end of the year.

He said the country was also interested in buying vaccines which had not yet been approved in Europe, so both Janša and Krek hope the pace of vaccination could be intensified once the vaccine by AstraZeneka, which is to be produced in large quantities, is available.

The vaccination plan also envisages that the regions with the worst epidemiological situation would be prioritised in distributing the vaccine. However, Janša said it was too early to say when this rule would kick in.

Slovenia launched anti-coronavirus vaccination at the end of December, first vaccinating the majority of care homes residents who had not been infected with Covid-19.

At the same time, vaccination of care home and healthcare staff started, now continuing with the elderly who are not in residential care.

Most of the community health centres have opted to equally distribute the vaccine they received among all of their GPs, usually ten doses per GP, in line with the Health Ministry’s guidelines. The Ljubljana Community Health Centre for instance received 1,625 doses today and launched vaccination at the city’s fairgrounds.

Practically all health centres report that the interest in getting vaccinated exceeds the amount of vaccine received by far.

The first to get vaccinated are those aged at least 80 who have earlier told their GPs they would like to get a jab. This is after the ministry urged health centres to ask their patients aged above 80 whether they would like to get vaccinated and prepare priority lists.

The informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL), which would like to replace Janša’s government, criticised the vaccination plan as coming too late, arguing staff and location capacities should have been planned much in advance.

Its Covid-19 expert group believes a centralised national vaccination register should be set up instead of every community health centre “developing its own app”.

It also favours organising large vaccination centres around the country instead of additionally burdening GPs. Occupational medicine should also play a more active role in vaccination efforts.

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