Coronavirus update, Sept. 22, 2021: Czech Republic sees highest daily Covid rise since late May

Slovak president criticizes vaccine inequality in UN speech, rules for school field trips may change, fraction of eligible Czechs show interest in booster. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.09.2021 10:20:00 (updated on 22.09.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Čaputová criticized vaccination inequality at UN speech

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová spoke about the fight against Covid-19 and the dangers of climate change in her speech Tuesday at the UN General Assembly calling the uneven distribution of Covid vaccines in the world a failure of politics. Čaputová said that almost 75 percent of all vaccine doses have so far been applied in only ten countries.

She went on to say that there are 50 countries with the current share of vaccinated inhabitants standing below 5 percent. The Slovak president called this is a failure of politics unfolding in real time on the world stage. Solidarity should be a leading principle, not a mere option, she said, adding that vaccines must be available to all.

Just a fraction of eligible Czechs have had a booster shot so far

From Monday, selected groups of the population can be vaccinated against Covid-19 with a third dose. On the first day, of the 7,800 people who were entitled to the vaccine, 280 were vaccinated. Most of them were seniors from nursing homes or paramedics.

"As of today, 90 medical professionals are registered with us for the third dose. Apart from them, so far we have only vaccinated 15 patients," said Ludmila Šimáčková, head of the PR department at the University Hospital in Motol, on Monday. The third dose is recommended for the chronically ill, patients who are predisposed to have a more severe course of Covid, seniors over 60 years of age, health professionals, and social workers.

Czech Republic pre-ordered Pfizer vaccines for 700,000 children

The Czech Republic has pre-ordered 700,000 coronavirus vaccines for children aged five to 11. The Ministry of Health confirmed this to Radiožurnál. The vaccine, which will be given in doses two-thirds smaller than for adults, has not yet been approved. A consortium of Pfizer and BioNTech researchers is currently preparing data for the European Medicines Agency. The Ministry of Health sent a pre-order for vaccines for children during the summer holidays.

"At that time, it was necessary for all EU countries to give some indicative demand. We anticipate that the complete vaccination of this group will take place. It is realistic, even on the basis of experience with the overall vaccination coverage, that [children] could be vaccinated. It will depend a lot on the parents, but we have the vaccines ordered," Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said.

About 809,000 thousand children aged 5 to 11 live in the Czech Republic, which means the pre-ordered vaccines will cover about 86 percent of them. The European Medicines Agency has so far authorized the use of vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech for all from the age of 12.

Testing measures for school field trips expected to change

The Ministries of Education and Health are currently discussing an amendment in Covid regulations for school visits to theaters, museums, and other cultural facilities. Aneta Lednová, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education, told ČTK that according to current regulations, pupils are required to test for coronavirus despite the fact that they are not currently being tested in schools. 

With the exception of swimming and physical education, the same anti-epidemic regulations generally apply to activities involving pupils in education as for the wider population. The Ministry of Health and Education did not recommend cultural field trips for schools last school year due to the epidemic. 

Interest in flu shots is on the rise, say Czech GPs

At a press briefing Tuesday, Petr Šonka, chairman of the Association of General Practitioners, noted that as symptoms of flu and Covid-19 are difficult to differentiate, patients with respiratory diseases should be tested by doctors. Šonka recommended that seniors, in particular, should be vaccinated against the flu; vaccination is covered by insurance. In total, 1.08 million doses of influenza vaccine have been ordered for this year, about 200,000 more than last year. 

In the Czech Republic, about six to seven percent of the population is vaccinated against influenza every year, and one in five seniors. According to the Health Ministry, the goal of the European Union is to vaccinate 30 percent of the population; the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccinating 75 percent of seniors. Seniors over the age of 65 and the chronically ill are covered for these vaccines by public health insurance, while others can apply for a contribution from their health insurance company.

Czech Republic sees highest daily Covid rise since late May

The Czech Republic saw 599 new Covid cases on Tuesday, the highest daily figure in nearly four months, while the reproduction number standing for the number of people infected by one positive person dropped to 1.05, the Health Ministry's data shows today. Czech hospitals treated 169 coronavirus patients, including 26 in a serious condition. There were five fewer hospitalized patients than on Monday, but nine more than a week ago. The number of the seriously ill has remained at 30 for several days.

The incidence rate is 29 newly infected persons per 100,000 population in the past seven days. It was 28 in the previous five days. It remains highest in Prague, where it increased to 50 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days, followed by the Moravia-Silesia Region with 43 cases. The epidemic situation is the best in the Hradec-Králové Region, with 11 cases. Among the districts, it remains the worst in Opava, north Moravia, with an incidence rate of 83.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Sept. 22, 2021)

  • New cases 599
  • Deaths to date 30,446
  • Currently hospitalized 169
  • PCR tests performed 22,648
  • Antigen tests performed 35,095
  • Total vaccinations 11,726,815
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 10,002 
  • Vaccinations completed 5,904,421
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 29
  • R number 1.05
  • PES number 52
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