Coronavirus update, Aug. 5, 2021: Health Ministry to decide on third jab by end of August

Plus: O2 universum now offering walk-in vaccination, EU to buy Novavax vaccine, GPs could soon vaccinate children with Moderna

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 05.08.2021 09:22:00 (updated on 05.08.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Health Ministry to decide on third jab by end of August

The Czech Health Ministry will decide by the end of August whether to apply the third, reinforcing dose of Covcid-19 vaccine to selected people, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch tweeted, adding that he has asked experts to draft their position on the issue.

“I have asked the [ministry's] Clinical Group, the Czech Vaccinology Society, and the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) for an expert opinion on the administration of the third dose of vaccination. MeSES will also be involved in the solution. We have to decide on that by the end of August.” Vojtěch said.

MeSES is an interdisciplinary team led by epidemiologist Petr Smejkal. On Tuesday, the organization Podane rucé said that it will probably be necessary to apply the third dose to seniors. According to preliminary results of an analysis made by the organization, up to 60 percent of seniors see their antibodies markedly decreased six months after the vaccination. Previous debates also mentioned the possibility of giving a reinforcing third jab to people with reduced immunity.

Over 42,000 vaccine doses applied to people without registration

More than 42,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been applied in the centers where people can come without previous registration in the Czech Republic, according to the Health Ministry's statistical data. These started opening July 12. The first such centers opened in the capital of Prague, while other regions followed. The Prague centers in Westfield Chodov and at the main station Hlavní nádraží opened first. Since its opening, more than 19,000 vaccine doses have been applied in the Chodov center, which is almost half of all doses that the centers without registration have applied. See our full story here.

O2 universum now offering walk-in vaccination

The National Vaccination Center at O2 universum and the Central Military Hospital as of Aug. 4 offer walk-in vaccination, daily from 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 5 pm. They join the Municipal Vaccination Center at the Congress Center, which started offering walk-in slots a day earlier. All will still give priority to people with reservations. These are in addition to established walk-in only centers at the Westfield Chodov and Nový Smíchov shopping malls and the main train station Hlavní nádraží in Prague, and a vaccination bus run by City Hall.

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EU to buy Novavax vaccine

The European Commission approved an agreement with the US company Novavax to purchase up to 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by 2023, EC President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Twitter. The medicine is currently being evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). According to the EC, if the vaccine is approved, the first doses could be received in the last quarter of this year. The vaccine in trials has proven effective against variants of coronavirus.

GPs could soon vaccinate children with Moderna

Vaccination of children against Covid-19 could start in the general practitioners' offices for children in the near future. Insurance company VZP is now preparing detailed instructions for doctors. Doctors will be able to order a vaccine from Moderna, which is also allowed for children from 12 years of age. Doctors are interested in vaccinations, but they would like the vaccine packages to be divided. One package contains 100 vaccination doses, which smaller offices would not be able to use.

Soldiers to get days off for Covid vaccination

Czech professional soldiers vaccinated against Covid-19 will get two extra days off under the Defense Ministry's directive to secure that government decision on paid time-off for vaccinated state employees would apply to them, which the ministry has released on the web. The directive authors count with the possibility of the third or another re-vaccination in the case of two-dose vaccines. However, in such a case, the soldiers who decide to get vaccinated should be entitled to another day off. In the case of a one-dose vaccination scheme, the employee has the right to two days off, for a two-dose scheme, the employee is entitled to a day off for each applied dose beyond the possibly recognised right to paid time-off, the ministry's report writes. The directive will also apply to the soldiers who have already been vaccinated. There are 26,395 professional soldiers in the Czech Republic.

Inhabitants of remote areas show interest in vaccination

Many people have shown interest in the Covid vaccination provided by mobile teams in remote areas in the Moravia-Silesia region, regional governor Ivo Vondrák said at a press conference with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, visiting the region, in Vítkov yesterday. Dozens of people were waiting for the inoculation outside the culture house in Vítkov near Opava where a mobile vaccination team was sent from the Ostrava Teaching Hospital. Besides, mobile teams have already vaccinated the inhabitants of the villages of Osoblaha near Bruntal and Jablunkov near Frýdek-Místek, where 151 and 172 people, respectively, got vaccinated against Covid-19 these days, Vondrák added.

"At present, we are vaccinating people in remote localities far from centers. It has been proven that this makes sense," Vondrák said.

People from remote areas could choose between the one-dose vaccine from the Johnson & Johnson and the two-dose one from Pfizer/BioNTech. The region has been using mobile teams since the beginning of the vaccination campaign. They were touring social care facilities first.

Czech Republic fourth worst in Covid deaths worldwide

The Czech Republic is the fifth-most affected country in the world by Covid-19 infections, and the fourth worst in terms of death, according to the server Ourworldindata.org. Coronavirus has infected 200 million people worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic, and over 4.2 million people in the world died from it. In the Czech Republic, 1,674,410 people have been infected so far, which is over 156,330 per million inhabitants. In the world in terms of the relative number of infected only Andorra (over 191,500), the Seychelles (more than 186,940), Montenegro (over 163,460), and Bahrain (over 158,450) are worse off. In addition, 30,371 people infected with covid have already died in the Czech Republic, equaling 2,840 deaths per million inhabitants Only Peru (5,960), Hungary (3,110), and Bosnia (2,950) have worse ratios.

R number rising again but still under 1.0

The number of new Covid cases reported for Wednesday was 205, up slightly from 194 a week earlier. There were 43 people in hospitals, down from 46 a day earlier. The number of people in serious condition remained the same at 10. No deaths were reported for the second day in a row, and the toll for August remains at three. The index number of newly infected people per 100,000 for the past seven days rose by one to 11. the reproduction number R rose to 0.95, but is still under the break-even point of 1.0. The number of fully vaccinated people, including those with the single-shot Janssen vaccine, is at 4.9 million and should cross the 5 million mark today. For Prague, the index number remained at 20 and the R number was at 0.89. In the Plzeň region, where the pandemic is worst, the index number was at 2š, down from 27 a day earlier. The R number was 0.76.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Aug. 5, 2021)

  • New cases 205
  • Deaths 30,371
  • Currently hospitalized 43
  • PCR tests performed 9,148,477
  • Antigen tests performed 24,275,415
  • Total vaccinations 10 519 901
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 46,030
  • People who have completed vaccination 4,967,399
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 11
  • PES index 28
  • R number 0.95
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