Two centres offering Covid-19 vaccination without prior registration opened in Prague on Monday. Their aim is to attract more people to get the jab amidst a growing number of new cases. The vaccine is available to everyone over the age of 16, including foreigners.
More than a third of the population of the Czech Republic, about 3.8 million people, have already been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and another 1.4 million people have received a single dose.
However, vaccination coverage among the people aged 30 and below is only about 40 percent. At the same time, experts say this is precisely the group of people who are behind the increase of new cases due to more social contacts.
In a bid to attract more people to get the jab, the Czech Ministry of Health has launched a pilot scheme, under which it is possible to get the jab without prior appointment.
So far, two such walk-in centres opened in Prague, one at the Main Train Station and the other at the Westfield Chodov shopping mall.
Martin Ježek is in charge of coordinating the vaccination process.
“In the Chodov Shopping Mall, we are offering the two-dose Comirnaty vaccine from the company Pfizer. At the Main Station, people can get the single dose Jansen vaccine from the company Johnson and Johnson.
“However, none of these centres will be inoculating children. They are only available to people over the age of 16, including foreigners and the non-insured.”
Both of the existing centres will operate daily and those vaccinated here can take part in a prize draw, which includes iPhone 12 mobile phones, Converse sneakers, or vouchers for the Steam gaming platform.
The centres will also be available for people who have already received their first dose of the vaccine, says Mr Ježek. However, their main goal is to attract more people to get inoculated in the first place, explains Health Minister Adam Vojtěch:
“If it turns out that there is interest in the vaccines, then we would like to spread this model further, not only in Prague, but also to other regions of the Czech Republic.”
On Sunday, the Czech Republic’s Covid reproduction number (the average number of people infected by one person with the virus), rose to 1.46. That is the highest figure since last October and signifies an accelerated spread of the virus.
Prague is currently the region with the highest rates of new coronavirus infections, with 32 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Meanwhile, the state-wide rate of average infections lies at 10 per 100,000.
In a bid to curb the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the government on Monday approved shortening the interval between the first and second dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech, the most common vaccine administered in the country.
At present the second dose is most frequently administered after 34 days. Starting this Thursday, people can get the second dose already after 21 days.