STA, 10 May 2021 - Slovenia's vaccination rollout is expected to gather momentum on Monday as jabs become available to adults under 50 years of age, while older and more vulnerable will continue to take priority.
Mass vaccination for all adults comes after a nation-wide vaccination booking app was launched last week to make the rollout run more smoothly. Roughly 31,000 people registered in less than two days.
Data released by the National Institute of Public Health on Sunday show that nearly half a million or nearly a quarter of Slovenia's population have received the first Covid-19 jab with roughly half of them or 12% already fully vaccinated.
Urging people to get vaccinated for their own sake and the sake of others, Prime Minister Janez Janša said on his Twitter profile last week that enough vaccines would be secured for everyone by summer.
The goal is to fully vaccinate at least 60% of the population to achieve herd immunity. NIJZ data show the rate for both doses has only been achieved in the 80-84 age group, while 60% or more have received the first dose among those aged 70 to 79 and 85 to 89.
"In the supplies are as planned, it is possible to have 60% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of June," Mateja Logar, the government's chief Covid-19 adviser, said earlier this month.
Jelko Kacin, the national coordinator for vaccination logistics, says this month Slovenia expects deliveries of at least 450,000 doses of the four Covid-19 vaccines so far approved in the EU.
However, as the issue of supplies appears to be largely resolved, vaccine hesitancy and aversion may prove to be more of a problem.
To boost public trust in the vaccines, Health Minister Janez Poklukar received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in front of the cameras on Friday, after he got over Covid-19 in the autumn.
As vaccination is being opened to under 50s, Bojana Beović, the head of the national advisory committee on immunisation, says vaccination tiers will still be observed, with those first in line to be invited to get a jab if those higher up the list do not turn up.
Taking into account those recovered, she believes herd immunity could be reached within two months.
NIJZ data show Slovenia has recorded more than 246,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, which corresponds to roughly 12% of Slovenia's population.
Where Can I Get a COVID Test or Vaccine in Slovenia?
See here for the list of testing sites, with links to your local health centre (ZD - zdravstveni dom), where you should also be able to register for a vaccination