The next people to receive the vaccine would be people over the age of 65, people with chronic diseases, employees of operative services and employees of educational institutions. Such groups of people have been identified taking into account the recommendations of the European Commission and the practice of other countries.
It is currently planned that in total the state-paid vaccine could be provided to more than 800,000 people, assuming that this number could be higher if the vaccine manufacturers approve the Latvian order.
Today, the Ministry of Health presented the Covid-19 vaccination strategy to Latvia to the government and the Crisis Management Council.
The Ministry draws attention to the fact that currently Covid-19 vaccines have not been registered by any of the vaccine manufacturers who have informed about the progress of their vaccine research. At the same time, the information available so far is sufficient to prepare for the time when the vaccine is registered and available.
To date, the National Health Service has entered into an agreement to supply vaccines with two vaccine manufacturers, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. If these vaccines are registered, then in total more than 800,000 people at risk in Latvia could be vaccinated with them.
At the same time, various options are being assessed and negotiations are ongoing with other vaccine manufacturers to provide a publicly paid vaccine to a wider population.
However, the first AstraZeneca vaccines will be available in Latvia in January
The first agreements with the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca envisaged that they would reach Latvia at the end of December, but now the manufacturer has informed that it will hardly be possible to receive the vaccines sooner than in January, Minister of Health Ilze Hänķele (AP) told reporters.
The Minister refused to mention a specific date when the vaccines could arrive in Latvia, stating that there is still enough uncertainty on the part of the manufacturer. Consequently, the question of whether the vaccines will actually arrive in Latvia in January, according to Herķele, does not currently depend on the politician himself or the government as a whole.
However, she explained that there are two doses of the vaccine per person, which together make up one course of the vaccine.
Consequently, the mentioned 800,000 population, which is the number of persons to be vaccinated in Latvia, would need 1,600,000 doses of vaccines.
According to the Minister, 1.6 million euros have been paid in advance for these vaccines. In total, there are seven manufacturers with whom European Union agreements have been concluded, two of which, according to Vinkele, will be able to produce vaccines relatively safely.
Currently, the Ministry of Health, together with other involved institutions and the National Council for Immunization, is working on issues related to the logistics chain of Covid-19 vaccines, so that vaccines can be delivered to Latvia, stored, as well as the vaccination process itself, which will be a challenge in each country. , because vaccination will be possible for a very large number of people, the ministry said.
In hospitals of the largest cities in Lithuania, almost all places for Covid-19 patients are already occupied
It is also necessary to address issues related to procurement for storage of vaccines and the provision of logistics services, as well as to develop new functionality in e-health to indicate that a person has been vaccinated and to track the effectiveness of vaccination, explains the ministry. There are also other technical issues that need to be addressed over time, given that Covid-19 vaccines are not yet available in Europe.
On the website of the State Agency of Medicines, it is possible to get acquainted with the main facts about the development process of the vaccine against Covid-19, adds the Ministry of Health.