Coronavirus update, Oct. 8, 2021: Re-vaccination interval for Czech Republic cut to six months

Plus: Over 1,600 quarantined people used drive-in voting, new Covid cases drop under 1,000, Czech Republic fifth-least affected in EU. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.10.2021 09:49:00 (updated on 08.10.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Czech Republic cuts re-vaccination interval to six months

The interval for Covid-19 re-vaccination, that is the application of another dose after completed inoculation, will be cut in the Czech Republic from the current eight to six months as of Oct. 18, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch tweeted yesterday, adding that the ministry's clinical group has approved the change. As a result, over 1 million Czechs will be eligible for the third jab by the end of October, and 3.2 million by the end of the year.

The shortening of the interval was recommended by Czech vaccinologists, whose position was presented by Vaccinology Society chairman Roman Chlibek on Twitter. On Monday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) already approved the possibility of re-vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after six months for adults over 18. Currently, fully vaccinated people in the Czech Republic can get the additional Covid vaccine dose at least eight months after the last dose.

Babiš postpones third Covid jab due to exhaustion

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has decided to postpone his third Covid vaccine dose and will receive it next Thursday, he told Radio Impuls. Babiš was to receive the third Pfizer/BioNTech dose yesterday, but the Government Office announced later that the application would take place on Friday. Babiš then told ČTK that he further postponed the vaccination due to his attendance at the radio election debate on Friday.

"I canceled it because they told me I was going to Czech Radio tomorrow and my body is exhausted overall. Therefore I will go there next week on Thursday," he said.

He told ČTK he scrapped yesterday's vaccination slot due to his media appearances on the eve of the Czech general election. Babiš, 67, is to get revaccinated in the Central Military Hospital in Prague. He received the first dose at the same facility on Dec. 27, 2020, when the Czech Republic launched the vaccination campaign.

Over 1,600 people in quarantine used drive-in voting

A total of 1,601 people in Covid quarantine or isolation used the possibility of drive-in voting in the general election on Wednesday. The highest interest was in Prague and the lowest in the Karlovy Vary region, the Interior Ministry tweeted yesterday. These votes will start being counted on Saturday afternoon after 2 pm when the polling stations are to close in the Czech Republic.

The quarantined voters had a chance to cast their ballots from cars at 82 drive-in points situated most often at car parks and on the state institutions' premises from 8 am to 5 pm on Wednesday. The interest in drive-in voting was lower than in the regional and Senate elections last autumn when the coronavirus epidemic situation was worse than now. "Last year, more than 5,000 people voted this way," Deputy Interior Minister Petr Vokáč said.  

Face masks, lockdown weaken immunity against flu

Face masks and lockdowns introduced due to the Covid-19 epidemic weakened the immunity against other respiratory infections as people did not come across them as often as before, Czech experts said yesterday, recommending vaccination against flu also to small children, pregnant women, and people aged over 50. Unlike the previous years, there was nearly no flu epidemic in the country this year, but it is unclear what will be the situation next year.

Before the pandemic, 5 to 10 percent of adults and about one-fourth of children got infected with flu every year. "Doctors have recorded higher numbers of acute respiratory infections for about two weeks. More people have gotten ill than in the last five or six seasons," Jan Kynčl, head of the National Institute of Public Health epidemiology of infectious diseases department, told a press conference.  

Slovakia reduces quarantine period for visitors

From mid-October, Slovakia will reduce the basic quarantine period for people coming to the country from abroad to 10 days from the current two weeks. It will be possible to further shorten the isolation by obtaining a negative result of a laboratory test for coronavirus, which can be undergone no earlier than the fifth day of quarantine. Slovak authorities require quarantine when entering the country from people who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Exceptions to isolation are, among others, drivers and crews in freight, bus, rail, and air transport, as well as Czech pupils or students when traveling for study. People do not have to enter the quarantine during transit through Slovakia.  

Czech Republic fifth-least affected by Covid in EU

According to the number of coronavirus infections in the last 14 days, the worst situation in the EU remains in Lithuania, with 796 cases per 100,000 population, compared to 646 a week ago. The second-most affected country is Estonia, where 659 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population were reported in the last 14 days. A week ago there were 532 cases. The third-most affected country is now Romania, with 632 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a week ago it was the fourth with 397 cases. In the Czech Republic, the number of cases is growing. With 72 cases per 100,000 over 14 days it is now the fifth least-affected EU country. A week ago it was the third-least affected with a two-week incidence rate of 59. This is according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

New Covid cases drop under 1,000

There were 991 new Covid cases reported for Thursday, after two days that were over 1,000. Last week, though, there were 916 cases. Some 315 people are hospitalized, compared to 248 a week earlier. There are 64 people in serious condition. Two deaths were reported, bringing the toll for October to 20. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days rose to 53, up one from a day earlier. Last week it was at 37. The reproduction number R is at 1.28, down slightly from 1.30 a day earlier but up from 1.24 a week earlier.

For Prague, the incidence number is 69, up from 68 a day earlier. The R number is 1.15. The pandemic is worst in the Moravia-Silesia region, with an incidence number of 84.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Oct. 8, 2021)

  • New cases 991
  • Deaths to date 30,496
  • Currently hospitalized 315
  • Daily increase in PCR tests 23,764
  • Daily increase in antigen tests 44,493
  • Total vaccinations 11,869,436
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 8,636
  • Vaccinations completed 5,992,263
  • Total booster shots 16,016
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 53
  • R number 1.28
  • PES number 58
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