As of Sunday, the healthcare staff in Romania are receiving the second dose.
The second phase of the national anti-COVID vaccination programme has started, whereas healthcare staff, whose immunization began on December 27, are already receiving the second dose.
This stage of the programme covers people over 65 years of age, chronic patients regardless of age, and workers in key sectors. Bookings are running smoothly, said PM Florin Cîţu, who posted on his Facebook page a Health Ministry report according to which the elderly and chronic patients account for over 75% of the total appointments in the second phase.
“Things are as they should be: we are protecting the most vulnerable first,” the health minister Vlad Voiculescu said in his turn.
Nation-wide, the Vaccination Coordination Committee announced that over 300,000 people had been scheduled for vaccination in 2 days, out of the 365.000 spots available. The enrollment started on Friday afternoon, and on Sunday morning both Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca (in the north-west) had run out of available spots. The requests outnumbered the current vaccination capabilities, with appointments depending both on the number of vaccine doses in stock at a particular point in time, and on the number of requests, the campaign coordinators are saying.
The dedicated online platform, covid.gov.ro, has reported over 2.5 million views. Around 50% of the appointments were conducted individually on this platform, and the others over the telephone, via family physicians or employers.
For the time being, in many counties appointments are no longer available for the next 3 weeks.
Meanwhile, efforts are made to open new vaccination centres. Only some of the over 650 centres scheduled to be available in this stage of the programme are operational at present.
For example, in Bucharest, where the most daily new infections are being reported, the second phase only began in the centres earmarked for the vaccination of healthcare staff at the start of the programme.
According to the Public Health Directorate, depending on the number of requests and of vaccine doses available, Bucharest should have another 30 centres totaling 140 locations.
Over 200,000 Romanians have so far received the new coronavirus vaccine, with several hundreds of minor and common side effects. Additional batches are scheduled to arrive in the country in the meantime. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)