Vaccination to intensify next week, minister says

Ljubljana – Vaccination centres across Slovenia will step up their activities in the coming days, as Slovenia expects some 120,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to be available in the country, Health Minister Janez Poklukar told the press on Wednesday.

Moreover, Poklukar expects a test run will be launched on a new vaccination application app next week. Apart from being a tool for vaccination, the app is also expected to simplify the administrative side of the vaccination effort.

Poklukar gave a statement for the press today after talking to the heads of vaccination centres and hospitals about the organisational aspects of the vaccination effort.

Slovenia expects large shipments of vaccines next week, he said. Expectedly, 9,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are to be available, 69,000 doses of AstraZeneca, 6,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson and over 56,000 doses of the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine.

All of the Moderna doses are to be used for second jabs, as will 9,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

He estimates that Slovenia could have enough vaccine available in the first half of May to allow it to scrap the priority-group approach to vaccination.

Poklukar believes the biggest challenge in the effort is getting people motivated to get vaccinated. “It is up to all of us to act responsibly so that as many people as possible are inoculated as soon as possible.”

Therefore, he asked all residents to apply for a jab and turn up for the vaccination when called.

The minister also counts on healthcare personnel to encourage people to get vaccinated. More than a half of vaccination centres are proactively reaching out to the population over the phone, according to Poklukar.

“The cooperation between a patient and their GP is key. Every resident must be contacted by a trustworthy healthcare worker and motivated to get the jab,” said Poklukar.

He admitted that some regions fared better than others, adding that this depended on several factors. In regions where the elderly have poorer access to vaccination centres mobile units will have to be deployed and concessionaires activated, he said.

Vaccination centres could inoculate up to three times as many people as now, said Poklukar, adding that the entire population could be inoculated in only two months at that pace.

The vaccination staff are tired but highly motivated, said Poklukar. Where needed, the Armed Forces and the Civil Protection, which are already involved in the effort, will help the vaccination teams.

Force Commander Brigadier General Miha Škerbinc also took part in the press conference, saying the Armed Forces have been providing support for the Civil Protection and other state bodies. Among other things, the Armed Forces’ mobile unit has also been vaccinating Armed Forces members.

Moreover, the Armed Forces have handed over to civilian healthcare teams a vaccination centre at the Kranj barracks and are ready to do the same with another centre in Ljubljana, said Škerbinc.

Civil Protection members meanwhile help out in vaccination centres with organisation and administrative tasks, Civil Protection boss Srečko Šestan said.

So far, over 410,700 people have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, while nearly 175,600 have had two. The share of inoculated population currently stands at 8.4%.