Covid Hospitalizations Fall Under 3,000 As Vaccination Nears Three Million Doses

Over three million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been administered in the Czech Republic since vaccination began four months ago, more than three-quarters of them from Pfizer / BioNTech. So far, 980,327 people have been fully vaccinated in the Czech Republic, while the current number of patients in hospital is declining. Photo Credit: Courtesy of South Moravian Region.

Czech Rep., Apr 29 (BD) – The number of patients in Czech hospitals with Covid-19 dropped under 3,000 on Wednesday, for the first time since October 2020. Of the 2,483 patients, 622 are in a serious condition, according to the Ministry of Health, almost 16% less than the same day last week. 

In early March, when there were over 8,000 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals, then-Health Minister Jan Blatný said that fundamental changes to the restrictive measures could be made only when the number of hospitalizations had dropped to less than 3,000.

However, Blatný did not specify what exactly was meant by a fundamental change. Although the government considers the return of children to school to be an absolute priority, so far only first-grade pupils have been able to return, on an alternating schedule. Second-graders are also due to return to classrooms in several regions from May.

However, on Tuesday, the current Health Minister Petr Arenberger said that from this weekend spectators will be allowed into the stands to watch 1st and 2nd league football matches, up to 10% capacity, if they have a negative test and wear a respirator.

“It’s basically a pilot project that our hygienists asked for. They are taking it as one of the studies to find out if such an activity is risky, and will then prepare other reopening packages that would be needed accordingly”, Arenberger said.

Alongside a decline in the number of infections, since the end of December 2020, when the vaccination program began, 2.8 million doses have been administered to more than 1.9 million people, about 18.5% of the population.

So far, over 950,000 people have already received both shots and are completely vaccinated, or 8.9% of the population. About 73% of people over-80 are now vaccinated with at least one dose, and more than 54% are fully vaccinated.

Eligibility for a vaccine depends on age or occupation – health professionals, school staff, and social workers are entitled to a jab. Last Friday registration opened for people over-60, and people over-55 joined them this Wednesday. In the coming weeks, the government wants to lower the age limit every week by five years. However, about 180,000 Czechs over 70 are registered and still waiting for the vaccine.

77% of the doses administered so far are the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, with AstraZeneca accounting for 12% and approximately one in ten from Moderna. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine accounts for only 0.1%.

The highest share of those who have already received both doses are in Prague, where 141,000 people have received complete vaccinations, though not all of them are residents of Prague. By contrast, in the Liberec region, fewer than 35,000 people have had both doses.

“Distribution is population-based, so I don’t think it’s because some regions get fewer vaccines than others. A possible explanation is the organization of each vaccination site – how many doctors are involved,” explained Roman Chlíbek, Chair of the Czech Vaccine Society and the head of the epidemiological group at the Ministry of Health.

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