Govt. plan walk-in vaccinations and jabs for over 12s from July

After a sluggish start, the Czech Republic’s Covid vaccination programme is currently moving on apace. Now in a bid to reach even more people the government is set to launch “walk-in” vaccinations in under a month’s time, while the over 12s will be able to register for inoculation from the start of July.

In March Prime Minister Andrej Babiš promised 100,000 coronavirus vaccinations a day right after the Easter holiday.

That pledge failed to materialise but in the last couple of months the country’s vaccination programme has been gathering pace and over 110,000 jabs a day were administered last week.

As of the weekend, over 2.5 million people in the nation of 10.7 million were fully vaccinated, while 4.7 million have received at least one dose.

Up to now it has been necessary to fill in an online registration form in order to get inoculated; this opportunity was initially available to the oldest members of the population and has gradually opened up to younger age categories.

But now the government is taking a significant step further, the minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, announced on Czech Television on Sunday.

“I have proposed, and we will discuss, that at a certain moment we should create an ‘open door’ system.

"This means that people wouldn’t have to register anywhere in advance – they would simply come along to vaccination centres themselves and get vaccinated.”

Adam Vojtěch | Photo: Office of Czech Government

Around 200,000 people are at present registered and awaiting their first injection, Mr. Vojtěch said.

The minister said that getting around half the population to receive the Covid jab was not so difficult – but other approaches were necessary if the state wanted to achieve 70 percent vaccination.

“It may well be that some people have a problem with registration. I propose that we introduce this in the moment when we see that the number registered is actually falling.

"I spoke about it on Tuesday with a colleague from Slovenia, at a council of health ministers in Luxembourg.

"He said that their experience was that when they had a registration system interest tailed off.

"But as soon as they created an open door system, without registration, some more people came.”

The option of walk-in vaccinations should be available from the middle of next month, Mr. Vojtěch said.

But the healthcare chief’s announcement wasn’t the only one in this area on Sunday, with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also delivering significant news during his weekly social media video address.

“From July 1, 2021, it will be possible for children aged 12 to 15 to register. They will need to be accompanied by a legal guardian.

"It will take place at vaccination centres accessible at paediatric wards; a paediatrician should be present.

"We’ll start on July 1 and any centres with vaccines can immediately start to administer them.”