Vaccination against the coronavirus will begin in the Czech Republic in January 2021, with older people with chronic diseases and health workers prioritized to get the vaccine first, Czech Health Minister Jan Blatny said on Monday.
The Czech Republic is expected to receive the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of 2020. The vaccination will be voluntary and paid for by health insurance. The country has reached agreements with several vaccine producers — AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Sanofi — under which, it will be able to procure vaccines' doses for up to 16 million people, which is more than the Czech population.
"In the near future, we will receive only tens or, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines. First of all, older people, especially those with chronic diseases, will be vaccinated. Then, they [vaccines] will be received by doctors who directly work with COVID-19 patients. After that, it will be the turn of the rest of the doctors, practitioners and teachers," Blatny told reporters.
According to the minister, two vaccines will be used initially for the vaccination. Since one of the vaccines needs to be stored at extremely low temperatures, it will be used only in hospitals. Physicians will be vaccinated with another vaccine that does not require special storage conditions.
The Czech Republic saw its daily infection rate drop over the past several weeks. Over the past 24 hours, 1,074 new cases were registered in the country, which is the lowest daily increment since September 20. Given the improvement, the government allowed all shops, restaurants, cafes and consumer services to resume operations starting December 3.