STA, 19 December 2020 - Some 72,000 Slovenians have expressed their interest in getting a Covid-19 vaccine by registering on the e-government portal. While hospitals are getting ready for vaccination to start, the Health Ministry said Slovenia is to get the first batch of nearly 10,000 doses on 26 December.
Slovenia's national vaccination strategy for Covid-19 stipulates that health care workers, and residents and staff at elderly care homes will be the first to get the vaccine.
It is unclear as yet where vaccination will kick off first, with the Health Ministry telling the STA on Friday that it was drafting instructions for the public.
The Health Ministry also said Friday evening that the country would receive the first batch of 9,745 vaccines on 26 December. Two doses must be administered to each individual three weeks apart.
"Vaccination will start immediately after the vaccine is ready and distributed to vaccination points," the ministry said.
The entire batch will be delivered to the pharmacy of UKC Ljubljana hospital, where it will be stored at -80 degrees Celsius. The hospital pharmacy's capacities suffice for the amount of vaccine which is to be delivered, the ministry said.
While the pharmacy will get the doses ready for administering, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) will take over the distribution to care homes, health centres and hospitals. The vaccine will be transported at temperatures between two and eight degrees Celsius.
However, vaccination will only be able to start after the European Medicines Agency approves the vaccine. The agency is expected to announce on Monday whether it has okayed the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Vaccination in the EU is expected to start simultaneously in all member states, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying on Thursday that it would start on 27, 28 and 29 December.
Hospitals across Slovenia are getting ready for the vaccine roll-out, with several saying they expected more detailed instructions from the Health Ministry.
In Slovenia's biggest hospital, UKC Ljubljana, so far more than 3,000 out of its 8,500 employees have said they would get vaccinated. The hospital also told the STA that this year a record 33% of employees got a flu shot.
The UKC Maribor hospital, the country's second biggest, is in the process of checking how many of its staff would like to get vaccinated. "Vaccination will be a big challenge," the hospital also told the STA.
The general hospitals in Celje and Murska Sobota are also getting ready, but both have told the STA that they want more detailed instructions.
You can register your interest in receiving the vaccine here