“The Czech Republic has committed to buy vaccines for about 5.5 million people for 1.8 billion crowns. Vaccines for up to another 10.6 million inhabitants for 4.5 billion crowns are in reserve from other manufacturers. We should have it for up to 16 million people, “said Blatný.
He would like 60 to 70 percent of people to be vaccinated against covid. According to surveys, however, only about half of people count on it. Only eight percent of the Czech population is vaccinated against the flu every year.
The Czech Republic is proceeding in line with other EU countries that have signed agreements with several companies that develop the covid vaccine. According to government documents, three million doses have been ordered from Astra Zeneca to vaccinate 1.5 million people. Two doses to induce immunity will also be needed for the vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer, which the Czechia should have for two million people. A vaccine has been ordered from Johnson & Johnson for the same number of people, and so far there is no order from Sanofi.
The government is also negotiating a vaccine for a maximum of 2.56 million people from Curevac, for a maximum of 950,000 people from Moderna and for up to 3.5 million people from Novavax, which will also produce part of the vaccine in the Czech Republic.
According to the schedule, most of them should be available in the second half of next year.
There will also be contraindications
Blatný said that the Czechia will have enough vaccine for all residents, but this does not mean that everyone should get it. “Each vaccine, once approved, will have specific indications and contraindications, and every doctor will follow them. Of course, no one who should have more harm than good will get it, “said Blatný.
The government is due to discuss a national vaccination strategy by December 7, which will identify groups that should receive the vaccine as a priority, such as seniors and health professionals. Vaccinations will be covered by public health insurance and will be voluntary.
The minister also called on the media to help refute misinformation about the vaccination. “The vaccine is one of the clear steps to stop the spread of the epidemic,” he said.
The pandemic is still receding in the Czech Republic. On Monday, 4,377 people were newly positive, and on Sunday, when less is tested, 1509 more were infected. 5296 were currently hospitalized on Monday, of which 828 were in severe condition. 7360 people died with covid.
The Czech Republic has been in the fourth degree of PES risk since Monday, which means that the curfew has been reduced from nine to eleven in the evening, and shops can close at the same time. Up to six people can meet, and there can be a maximum of twenty people at weddings, funerals and services.
The risk index for the Czech Republic has decreased to 57 since Monday, which means that if it does not increase, the Czechia will reach the third degree next Monday (it is in the range of 41 to 60 on a 100-point scale), and will be able to lift the curfew and open all shops and restaurants.
The health ministry released data on Monday morning, indicating that the index had risen to 67, but soon corrected it. “There was a crash of the server, which did not read the numbers correctly,” Blatný explained.
Although the daily proportion of positive testers ranged up to 30 percent, this number, which is one of the important indicators in the PES system, has decreased significantly. According to Blatný, until recently, antigen tests in the homes of the elderly and social services were not included in it. Only since last week are they counted there, but only those that are then confirmed by the PCR test. “Once all the tests have been written, the daily percentage will fall to values that can be around ten percent,” said Blatný.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) said that the government will negotiate the free provision of antigen tests, they will cost 150-200 crowns. “Antigen tests are about ten times cheaper than PCR tests. We are able to offer people free testing, “he said.
End of testing in nursing homes
Comprehensive testing in nursing homes and social services will end on December 4. Then, on 12 December, when the emergency period expires, the testing of employees in homes should also end. Until then, the ban on visits to these facilities should also apply.
The Jistota initiative, backed by former ODS deputy Boris Šťastný, criticizes the government’s decision to end widespread testing. “We fundamentally disagree with this decision and reject it as unconceptual, premature and highly risky,” Šťastný wrote.
He also criticized the regulation, according to which a ban on visits will continue to apply in these homes for another three weeks. “It is not possible to prolong the isolation of clients from families and visits need to be released immediately, possibly at the cost of special measures,” Šťastný wrote.
On Monday, the government lifted a ban on other hospital care that had to be postponed due to covid. “It is still true that it is necessary to have the necessary numbers of beds in reserve in the event of a change. It is not the case that all covid units are disrupted, by no means, “said Blatný.