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What is the current situation in Slovakia?

Slovakia versus the Czech Republic: vaccination, Russian vaccine and current measures

Kristina Valachyová
23.Feb 2021
+ Add on Seznam.cz
6 minutes to read
Premiér SR Igor Matovič

The vaccination strategy of the Slovak Republic is based on the protection of the most at-risk citizens. By which we mean older people, seniors. Professionals who take care of the elderly had been vaccinated in the first wave, and in January, the vaccinations of senior citizens began. From 13 February, it was the turn of the teachers.

Teachers in kindergartens, primary, special and secondary schools and associated facilities under the age of 55 (included) will have another opportunity to get vaccinated in some cities in Slovakia during this week. The Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic has begun negotiations with the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic on the preparation of the next phase, in which the option to get vaccinated would be extended to other groups of employees in education, but everything depends on the availability of vaccines.

Igor Matovič

Comparison of data of the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic as of February 22, 2021

Number of PCR tests performed:

Slovakia: 1,973,949 PCR tests, positive tests 292,792

Czechia: 5,149,171

Number of antigen tests performed:

Slovakia: 11,453,349, positive tests 259,886

Czechia: 2,357,169

Number of deaths:

Slovakia: 6649

Slovakia has a population of 5,464,060, with deaths accounting for 0.12% of the total population of the Slovak Republic.

Czechia: 19,330

The Czech Republic has a population of 10,710,000, with deaths accounting for 0.18% of the total population of the Czech Republic.

Number of people vaccinated with the first dose:

Slovakia: 276,905 (5.07%)

Czechia: 337,829 (3.16%)

Number of people vaccinated with the second dose:

Slovakia: 95,291 (1.74%)

Czechia: 207,552 (1.94%)

Number of hospitalized:

Slovakia: 3,672 (0.07%)

Czechia: 6,049 (0.06%)

Number of cured:

Slovakia: 333,977 (6.11%)

Czechia: 1,017,406 (9.5%)

Open in gallery (3)
Jan Blatný
Jan BlatnýSource: MICHAL ŠULA / MAFRA / Profimedia

Luxusní byt na prodej, Praha 5 - 232m
Luxusní byt na prodej, Praha 5 - 232m, Praha 5

Interest in vaccination in Slovakia is 39.6%

39.6% of people in Slovakia are certain they want to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Another 38.5% of respondents are still hesitant. This emerged from a Focus survey conducted from 12 to 19 January on a sample of 1,005 respondents. 18.9% of respondents are certain they do not want to be vaccinated against the disease. 3% of respondents did not want to answer this question.

Interest in vaccination in the Czech Republic is 52%

According to a survey conducted by the STEM agency for the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, 52% of people are interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19, which is 13% more than last December. Currently, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are registered in the EU. The Czech Republic is also negotiating the supply of other vaccines.

Rodinný dům na pronájem, Praha 4 - 359m
Rodinný dům na pronájem, Praha 4 - 359m, Praha 4

An overview of the most important changes in Slovakia

From 22 February, a new division of districts according to epidemiological risk will apply in Slovakia.

A negative test no older than 7 days required to exercise the permitted exceptions to the curfew (for example, travel to the post office, office, bank, garden centre or dry cleaner's). This obligation applies throughout Slovakia, regardless of the district in which the citizen lives.

According to national criteria, the so-called covid machine, the whole of Slovakia is still in the worst, black phase.

Educational staff

Employees of schools and school facilities need a negative test no older than 7 days to go to work.

A trip to the countryside

You do not need to provide a negative test certificate within your district.

Trips to nature and other districts are allowed, but you are required to present a negative test no older than 7 days.

Exceptions are the black districts, to which access is prohibited, including trips to nature.

No negative tests are required in case of:

1. persons with proof of having had COVID-19 no older than 3 months,

2. persons vaccinated with the second dose of the vaccine, after a minimum of 14 days since vaccination,

3. persons whose medical condition or medical contraindications do not allow for taking the test,

4. pupils in kindergartens, primary schools and pupils in special schools and school facilities do not need a negative test at school, but it is required from one of their legal guardians living in the same household.

Children under the age of 15, seniors over the age of 65, severely disabled people in wheelchairs, people with moderate and severe mental disabilities and severe autism spectrum disorders do not need a test to travel outside the district either.

In the case of children under 10 years of age and persons over 65 years of age, the obligation to present a negative test when entering the currently open facilities (shops, libraries, post office and others) does not apply.

More information on the measures that will apply in the Czech Republic from Thursday, February 25, 2021, can be found here.

The regime on the Slovak border is tightening

At present, further mutations of the virus are complicating the epidemiological situation. From 17 February 2021, the list of less risky countries and the possibility of crossing the border with a 72-hour PCR test was abolished in Slovakia. This means that everyone without exception will have to undergo 14 days of isolation upon arrival in Slovakia and will be tested for COVID-19 by the PCR method in eight days at the earliest.

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Režim na slovenských hranicích se zpřísňuje
Režim na slovenských hranicích se zpřísňujeSource: Polícia Slovenskej republiky

If you arrive in Slovakia from a European Union member state, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or the United Kingdom (and you have not visited any other countries in the last 14 days) with an asymptomatic course of the disease, your home isolation ends on completion of the 14th day, even if haven't received a negative PCR test for COVID-19. If you arrive from outside the EU, you have to remain in isolation until you receive a negative PCR test. Home quarantine is also mandatory for all individuals living with you in the same household.

At the same time, you are obliged to report to the regional public health office via phone call, or electronically using the eHranica form, as well as to your doctor. During your stay in the territory of the Slovak Republic, you are required to prove yourself to a member of the Police Force of the Slovak Republic by confirming the aforementioned registration via the eHranica form. If you enter the territory of the Slovak Republic by air, you are also obliged to fill in an electronic form that serves to look up a passenger.

Vaccines

Vaccine deliveries to many EU member states are stagnant. The Minister of Health of the Slovak Republic Marek Krajčí expressed his interest in producing the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines directly in Slovakia. That, however, won't happen "overnight". So far, the member states are completely dependent on vaccine suppliers. If the plan succeeds, Slovakia will help other countries as well.

"We will supply it in exactly the same proportion to all other countries within the European Union, because we are part of this community. They treat us as such and we have to treat them just as fairly,"

said the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Igor Matovič.

The President of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová, believes that just as Slovakia was able to beat many deadly diseases by vaccination in the past, it will manage to protect the lives of its citizens from COVID-19 today.

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Prezidentka Zuzana Čaputová
Prezidentka Zuzana ČaputováSource: Profimedia

The European Commission has also concluded agreements for the supply of vaccines to the European Union with Johnson&Johnson, Sanofi-GSK and CureVac.

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine has caused a complete outrage in Slovakia

Prime Minister Igor Matovič is considering that Slovakia could buy the Russian vaccine, even though it has not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The Minister of Health of the Slovak Republic Marek Krajčí can bypass the agency and allow vaccination with this substance as therapeutic use of an unregistered medicine. When such a product is used for medical purposes, the doctor assumes full responsibility. According to a scientific study, Sputnik V is up to 91.6 percent successful in protecting vaccinated people from COVID-19. The Prime Minister criticized the Pandemic Commission for refusing the Russian vaccine. However, according to Zuzana Baťová, director of the Slovak State Office for Drug Control, the office does not have complete documentation for the Sputnik vaccine.

Slovakia will therefore not buy the Russian Sputnik at this point and will not vaccinate its citizens with it. At a meeting, the government didn't agree on the purchase of this vaccine, the draft resolution was vetoed by the Za ľudí (For People) party. According to them, Sputnik should not get an exception; instead, it should be properly registered just like all the other vaccines.

Matovič's government also asked medical staff from abroad for help. A Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, where these doctors could be working, will be established at the National Institute of Pediatric Diseases in Bratislava. Military medics from Austria have offered their help, too.

COVID-19 vaccines: what are the differences between them?

1. Use of RNA/mRNA vaccines - (Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech)

Pfizer/BioNTech

- vaccination with this vaccine was launched in the United Kingdom in early December,

- the vaccine is based on the use of genetic information directly from the virus, which is inserted into a fat wrapper, making it easier for RNA to enter the cells,

- vaccine efficacy: 95% in the prevention of symptomatic infection from seven days after the second dose,

- side effects: pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills and fever. Several cases of allergic reactions have been reported after administration of the vaccine.

Moderna

- vaccine efficacy: 94.1% 14 days after the second dose,

- side effects: pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, chills, fever, swelling or tenderness of the lymph nodes in the armpit, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting.

2. Use of vector vaccines (Chinese and Russian vaccine concept, AstraZeneca in cooperation with Oxford University)

Sputnik

- The vaccine was first used in early December, with Russia being the first country in the world to vaccinate its citizens.

AstraZeneca

- from January 2021, the United Kingdom began to vaccinate its population also with this vaccine,

- the purpose of the vaccine is to prepare the human body to defend itself against coronavirus infection,

- vaccine efficacy: 70.4%,

- in Europe, this vaccine is experiencing a wave of rejection due to its side effects,

- side effects: headache and fever.

Chinese vaccine

- vaccine efficacy: 50.4% in clinical trials in Brazil,

- the vaccine has been tested in several different countries; the results differed,

- Turkish researchers have established its efficacy at 91.25%, while Indonesia claims that the vaccine has an efficacy of 65.3%.

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