Czech government ready to hit pause on the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination due to shortage

Fewer doses of the vaccine have been delivered than expected, making it impossible to keep on schedule.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 27.01.2021 15:52 (updated on 27.01.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Health Ministry want to interrupt giving people the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and suspend making reservations for two weeks, ministry spokeswoman Barbora Peterová said. The situation in each specific region must be primarily evaluated by the regional coordinator, she added.

"The pause in first-dose vaccinations and reservations for them is recommended by the Health Ministry for the next 14 days," she added. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that are being used in the Czech Republic require two doses.

The recommendation was first metnioned by the radio station Radiožurnál, referring to Central Bohemian Governor Petra Pecková.

Some regions, including Central Bohemia, have canceled the booked dates for the elderly over 80 who have already registered themselves for the vaccination.

Peterová said it the suspension of the first dose of the vaccination would happen in Prague and perhaps in other regions that did not have enough vaccines.

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Health Minister Jan Blatný on Sunday said the vaccination of the group most at risk, people over 80 and the health personnel, would be delayed by about one month compared to the original plan. Initially, it was to finish in February, but it will now last till the end of March.

Blatný also said there was no reason for some hospitals to keeping the vaccine in their reserves if they wanted to be sure that they would have enough vaccine for the second dose.

According to the latest data on the vaccination, over 222,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Over 17,600 Czechs have been fully inoculated, including the second dose.

The largest number, almost 60,000 doses, have been administered in Prague. It is followed by the South Moravia Region with 30,000 and Moravia-Silesia with 24,000 doses. In six regions, there have been less than 10,000 dose. The lowest number, 3,900, in the Karlovy Vary Region.

Regional authorities have complained about unfair distribution of the vaccine. The Health Ministry says the campaign should arise from the number of the elderly registered for the vaccination and the population number over 65.

Last week, Pfizer/BioNTech reduced the number of the doses it would deliver to the Czech Republic by about one-fifth. The company wants to increase its production capacities. The limitation is to last until roughly mid-February and then, the production will be increased.

The firm Moderna has also reduced the January deliveries as against the original plans. However, next month, it will deliver 110,000 instead of the originally planned 80,000 doses.

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