The Czech Republic's first COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Prague

Vaccination courses among health professionals and patients will begin tomorrow at selected hospitals in Prague

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 26.12.2020 10:01 (updated on 26.12.2020)

Prague, Dec 26 (CTK) - Prague's Motol Hospital received the Czech Republic's first 9,750 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this morning, Czech Television (CT) reports.

Thanks to the delivery, vaccination can begin as expected from Sunday.

A car carrying the vaccine crossed the Czech border two hours after midnight. Transportation from Puurs, Belgium was organized by its manufacturer. It was escorted by military police through the Czech Republic.

From the Rozvadov crossing at the Czech-German border, the vaccine was transported to Václav Havel Airport in Prague and then to Motol Hospital, where it was received by hospital director Miloslav Ludvík and his team.

During the transport, a temperature of minus 70 degrees centigrade had to be maintained.

Doses of the vaccine will be distributed to three other hospitals in Prague and two in Brno. Health personnel and elderly patients in hospitals or institutional care will be the first to be vaccinated.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Health Minister Jan Blatný (for ANO) will be among the first to be vaccinated as well.

From February, a central reservation system will be launched which will allow the public to reserve times to be vaccinated.

Vaccination at Motol Hospital will begin on Sunday from 8:00 a.m., according to the hospital's Jana Merxbauerová.

Ludvík told CT that the vaccine would be transported from Motol to three other Prague hospitals on Saturday evening. Vaccination at those hospitals will also start on Sunday.

Motol will keep 1,975 doses of the vaccine, and the hospital plans to administer them to selected staff and patients at first.

Half of the 9,750 doses intended for Moravia is already being transported to the Teaching Hospital Brno, where it is supposed to come later in the morning.

COVID-19 vaccine BNT162 via BioNTech
COVID-19 vaccine BNT162 via BioNTech

Ludvík said he expected another delivery on December 29 or 30 and then in one-week intervals from from January 7.

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The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 is the first and so far only vaccine against COVID-19 which the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has registered for use in the EU. The EMA is evaluating other vaccines now.

By the end of the year, another 20,000 doses are expected to arrive in the Czech Republic. The country has ordered approximately 12 million doses, enough to vaccinated about seven million people.

Vaccination using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will require two doses, with an interval of at least 21 days between them. The vaccine is usually administered in the muscle of the upper arm.

Prague's General Teaching Hospital, Central Military Hospital, and Na Bulovce Hospital will be the first to vaccinate along with Motol. In Brno, the Teaching Hospital Brno and Saint Ann Teaching Hospital will be the first.

Later vaccines will be administered by general practitioners and perhaps also the field hospitals that were built in Prague and Brno in autumn.

According to a recent poll commissioned by the Health Ministry, 45% of Czechs do not want to be vaccinated, 40% are ready to do so, and 16% are hesitant.

Vaccination is mostly preferred by people over 60, residents of large towns, and men more often than women. In general, 52% of the respondents supported blanket vaccination.

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