Authorities try to boost COVID-19 vaccination

Authorities are attempting to boost the COVID-19 vaccination campaign by facilitating the booking process, launching mobile units and opening corporate vaccination points. The vaccination campaign seems to have slowed down in Romania, as on Tuesday, for the first time since the start of the campaign, the number of vaccination dates available for booking exceeded the number of people registered. To speed up the vaccination process, people can also request an appointment in person at the vaccination centers, not just through the government’s booking platform, the vaccination campaign coordinator, Dr. Valeriu Gheorghiţă, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

As Gheorghiţă noted, people living in rural areas of the country, especially the elderly, have difficulty accessing the registration platform. “Everyone wishing to be vaccinated can visit the closest vaccination center and ask for an appointment,” the military doctor detailed, noting that appointments can also be made by phone through the government call centers. The campaign coordinator also said that as of Wednesday, mobile vaccination units will be deployed, drive-thru vaccination sites will be set up, and family doctors participating in the campaign will start administering vaccines soon as well.

In addition, authorities are considering vaccinating chronically ill patients in non-COVID hospitals. According to Gheorghiţă’s announcement, in the first round, mobile vaccination units will be deployed in 14 counties, including Arad, Bacău, Constanţa, Ilfov, Mehedinţi, Máramaros (Maramureş) and Szeben (Sibiu). In seven other counties, mobile vaccination teams will help inoculate the population in places set up just for this purpose. For the time being, mobile vaccination centers will use the Moderna vaccine, which can be stored at 2–8 degrees Celsius for 30 days, she added.

Dr. Gheorghiță said 1.4 million people currently have a scheduled vaccination date, and the waiting period between making the appointment and receiving the vaccine has been reduced to five days.

As the HotNews.ro news portal summed up, on Tuesday morning, there were 212,689 available vaccination dates, while 180,732 people were registered on the waiting lists. However, there are large regional differences. In Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), for example, there are no appointments available for centers using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while in the city of Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe), one can easily book an appointment to receive the American vaccine. Currently, 115,000 vaccines can be administered daily in the country, but the number of daily vaccinations has not yet exceeded 80,000. So far, 1.04 million people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 1.6 million, both doses, according to Monday night’s data. As Prime Minister Florin Cîțu has already pointed out several times, the goal is to have 5 million people vaccinated by the beginning of June and more than 10 million by September.

Furthermore, in the future, provided that the National Health Service Directorate grants its approval, employees of private companies and their family members will be able to get vaccinated at their workplaces, the prime minister announced on Tuesday after consulting with representatives of companies and trade unions.

If a certain municipality does not have a vaccination center, only a corporate one, other members of the community will also be allowed to receive the vaccine at the company’s vaccination point, Cîţu said. The PM again drew attention to the fact that vaccination against COVID-19 is the only solution to recover from the pandemic. He stressed that anti-vaccination voices undermine efforts to return to normalcy.

Title image: Mobile vaccination centers have been deployed by the army as of Wednesday in isolated settlements

Source: Romanian Ministry for Defense (MAPN)/Facebook

Author: Éva Zay