Vaccination Rate Slowing in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s vaccination campaign appears to be stalling as the country’s infection numbers are rising again.

Although the Czech Republic’s vaccination rate is higher than in some other Central and Eastern European countries, it is below the EU average.

As of September 13, some 56.1% of the population has had at least one dose, compared with 52.9% on August 1. And 54.6% of the population is now fully vaccinated, up from 45.4% on August 1 and compared with the EU average of 60.3%.

This means, however, that only 1.6% of the population is awaiting their second-jab, with more than two-fifths of the country not having yet received their first injection.

According to data collated on the website, an open-source project by the Czech Technical University, only 26,007 people have registered on the government’s booking portal and await vaccination, although the authorities have opened walk-in centres where registration is not necessary, in some parts of the country.

The vaccination rate peaked in mid-June when about 0.9 doses per 100 people were administered daily. On September 8, it was down to just 0.13 doses per 100 people.

Vaccine hesitancy

Lubomir Kopecek, a professor of political science at Masaryk University, said that one problem is that the government’s vaccination campaign started later than in some other European countries.

Although it began on December 27, when Prime Minister Andrej Babis was the first person to receive the jab, it took several weeks for the vaccination campaign to be rolled out nationwide, and the registration portal was dogged in the first weeks with bugs and technical problems.

On top of that, the authorities were faced with a large percentage of the population who were sceptical — or outright hostile — to the idea of vaccination, said Kopecek. A survey by STEM, a local pollster, in early December, found that only 40% of Czechs would willingly be vaccinated, amongst the lowest rates in Europe.

“The disinformation effect of some websites — sometimes they are apparently associated with Russia — is relatively strong in a part of the population,” Kopecek added.

Infection numbers rising

Although there are only 96 patients admitted to intensive care, according to a statement made by Health Minister Adam Vojtech on September 9, he warned that the Czech Republic will soon be hit by a new wave of COVID-19.

“With a colder season coming and with increased population mobility due to recently opened schools on September 1, we can expect incidence to rise further,” Madar said. “It will bring to hospitals with more severe forms, especially those who did not go through COVID in the past and decided not to vaccinate.”

What most analysts agree on is that the government is unlikely to tighten pandemic restrictions this month, as the ruling ANO party is set to contest a close election in early October and lockdowns have proven unpopular in the Czech Republic.

What happens post-election, especially if the vaccination campaign continues to stall and infection numbers rise, is another matter.


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