Coronavirus update, Oct. 5, 2021: EMA approves third vaccine jab for people over 18 after six months

Plus: Over 415,000 seniors still unvaccinated, schools begin to receive money for tutoring, most people hospitalized with Covid since early June.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 05.10.2021 09:59:00 (updated on 18.10.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

EMA approves third jab for people over 18

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the administration of third doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech. According to the EMA, the booster shot can be considered for people over 18 years of age, six months after the second dose. The EU regulator also stated that it supports the administration of third doses of Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines to people with reduced immunity. In this case, the third vaccine can be given as early as 28 days after the second dose.

Over 9,200 Czechs receive third dose of Covid vaccine

More than 9,200 people have received the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which has been applied for two weeks now. Health Information and Statistics Institute (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek said that about 40,000 people are eligible for the third dose. He added that mainly health care workers showed interest in the third dose. The third reinforcing jab is recommended to those who have been fully vaccinated more than eight months ago, which means to hospital healthcare workers, the elderly, and persons whose immunity system is weakened.  

Czech parties agree on the need for vaccination

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In a pre-election debate sponsored by new server iDnes, candidates of the seven main parties agreed on the need for vaccination. According to the leader of the SPOLU coalition and the head of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Petr Fiala, the government must do everything possible to ensure that the pandemic does not reappear in the Czech Republic. “The basic recipe is immunization. It is still low in the Czech population,” he said. He added that new cases in hospitals were mostly unvaccinated people. Pirate chairman Ivan Bartoš called for more use of data and more promotion of vaccination. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) defended the vaccination campaign and other steps his government has taken.

Many seniors still unvaccinated

In the country with 10.7 million inhabitants, some 415,000 people aged over 60 have not been vaccinated. Health Information and Statistics Institute (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek said the number of unvaccinated senior citizens was decreasing relatively slowly, roughly by 2,000 per week. The percentage of vaccinated seniors is lower especially in remote areas of the Czech Republic. Dušek said this may be because vaccination is less available there. Mobile vaccination teams are touring these areas in many regions.

Vaccinology Society chairman Roman Chlibek said the elderly often have the feeling that it makes no sense in getting vaccinated at their age or they cannot get infected because they live alone. Senior citizens are the group that is the most threatened with a serious course of the Covid-19 disease.

University students more likely to follow anti-Covid measures

At the end of the spring semester, university students followed the preventive measures against Covid-19 more than other Czechs aged 18 to 34, according to a survey conducted by the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University in cooperation with the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

University students also were more likely to agree with coronavirus vaccination, compared to other young people. The rate of depression symptoms in students corresponded to the spring of 2020 and was higher than in the pre-pandemic situation. The mental state of students was negatively affected mainly by the poor financial situation and difficult study conditions in distance learning.  

Children lost three months due to home study

A new study by PAQ Research and Kalibro shows that Czech pupils are about three months behind due to distance learning.

“It is not a complete tragedy. Some foreign studies show that there has been a complete decline in distance learning. I would say that it is a moderately optimistic finding,” Daniel Prokop, co-author of the study and founder of the PAQ Research research organization.

The authors of the study based their findings on fifth-grade tests taken in February 2020, just before the first school closure in March, and at the end of the second half of the fifth grade in May 2021. The results for both tests were similar, despite the second test being given three months later.

Schools begin to receive money for tutoring

Primary and secondary schools have started receiving money to tutor pupils who had difficulty learning distance learning last school year. Pupils' interest in tutoring varies in schools and depends, among other things, on the capacity of staff, classrooms or the attitude of children and their families to education. Few are registered mainly at vocational schools and grammar schools, according to the directors.

The Ministry of Education has set aside approximately CZK 250 million for the autumn tutoring of pupils after distance learning. Primary schools were to receive about CZK 150 to CZK 740 per child and secondary schools for the last years about CZK 150 per pupil. Last week, the ministry said it sent money to public schools to the regions in the first half of September and it could be received by schools by the end of the week.

Vaccination numbers down sharply

After about three months, the number of newly vaccinated against Covid-19 has fallen sharply. While at the turn of June and July, up to about 120,000 people were vaccinated every day on weekdays, in the past week it was about one-tenth of that. On weekdays, the number of doses of vaccines administered last week was between approximately 10,000 and 12,000. On Sunday, 1,152 people were vaccinated, almost half as much as on the same day in the previous week. During the entire vaccination period, 11.83 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered in the Czech Republic and 5.97 million people were fully vaccinated, out of 10.7 million people.

Most people hospitalized since early June

There were 804 new Covid cases reported for Monday, up from 669 a week earlier. There are currently 255 people hospitalized with Covid, the most since the beginning of June. Some 39 people are in serious condition, the most since the start of July. One death was reported from Monday, and the figure for Sunday was updated to four. The October toll is now seven, and there have been 30,483 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days continues to rise, and is now at 43, up from 42 a day earlier. The reproduction number R dropped slightly to 1.31. For Prague, the incidence number is 63, up from 61 a day earlier, and the R number is 1.19.

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

  • New cases 804
  • Deaths to date 30,483
  • Currently hospitalized 255
  • Daily increase in PCR tests 19,225
  • Daily increase in antigen tests 39,948
  • Total vaccinations 11,839,887
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 8,284
  • Vaccinations completed 5,976,620
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 43
  • R number 1.31
  • PES number 56
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