A month since the start of the anti-Covid vaccination campaign, Romania is among the first countries in Europe as regards the immunization rate – around 2%.
Romania has so far received around 785 thousand doses of anti-Covid vaccine. Of them, around 1,300 have been wasted due to exposure to temperatures outside the recommended range, deteriorated vials and incorrect reconstitution. The coordinator of the immunization campaign, military doctor Valeriu Gheorghita, has announced that Romania is short of 117 thousand doses at present. For this reason, authorities have decided to delay, by ten days, the vaccination of essential workers with the first dose, so as to have enough doses for the voulnerable categories such as chronic diseases patients and people aged over 65. This is the solution found by the authorities, after last week Romania received only half of the doses expected. However, the authorities have given assurances that the vaccination schedule for the other categories will not be affected and that, starting February 9, things will get back to normal.
The period until February 5 is a little bit more difficult, Valeriu Gheorghita explained, adding that solidarity is what we need to overcome it. ”At present, the vaccination capacity depends on the number of vials delivered,” he also said, adding that there are also other countries facing the same problem due to delays in vaccine delivery, by pharmaceutical companies.
According to the official, the authorities have prepared several scenarios in case there are more delays in the vaccine delivery, scenarios that involve delaying immunization for certain categories of people. Almost 68% of the people vaccinated in the second stage of the campaign have chronic diseases and are aged over 65, while all others are workers that unfold essential activities. The first stage of the campaign has reached its goal, with over 90% of the medical staff already vaccinated, he said.
On the other hand, authorities have announced that by end-March, Romania should receive the remaining batches of vaccine, up to 3 million doses in total. According to Gheorghita, there is not a vaccine delivery schedule in place for the third quarter yet, but the number of vials will be significantly bigger, allowing for an increase in the immunization pace, so that over 10 million people will be vaccinated by September. Following the contract signed with the European Union, Romania should receive 12.5 million doses of vaccine. Moreover, Romania has also agreed with the European Commission on the delivery of 18 million doses of two vaccines that have not been approved yet, but which have high potential. (Translated by EE)