STA, 15 November 2021 - The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) and representatives of the medical profession made a renewed call for vaccination on Monday as the country is struggling to increase Covid bed capacities amid a severe fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic. A similar call was made by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).
SAZU holds the situation is so severe that it calls for immediate action by all residents in order to prevent a health catastrophe and many new, unnecessary fatalities.
The academicians thus call on all people to protect their own lives and the lives of others by complying with all the preventive measures.
They moreover call on those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so, while recommending those vaccinated getting a booster shot.
The vaccines are effective, rarely cause severe side effects, while a vaccinated person is ten times less likely to have a severe form of Covid-19, the appeal reads.
Outlining it at a news conference in Ljubljana on Monday, SAZU president Peter Štih said, "We're all aware of the seriousness of the situation."
Health Minister Janez Poklukar stressed vaccination was the only exit "from the unbearable situation in which the Slovenian healthcare has found itself".
Making a case for science, he said it is the core of our civilisation while rejecting it takes us back to the Stone Age.
Immunologist Alojz Ihan provided some figures - if everyone in Slovenia was vaccinated, there would be 200 Covid patients in hospital, and if nobody was vaccinated, there would be between 4,000 and 5,000.
Although it is best to be fully vaccinated, research shows that every day a person has been vaccinated before catching the virus counts, he stressed.
Marko Noč from UKC Ljubljana said 3,670 Covid patients have been treated in intensive care since the outbreak of the epidemic, while their mortality rate is around 50%.
"So if a Covid patient ends up in intensive care, the chance they will die is 50%", whereas the chance that one needs intensive treatment is ten times smaller in those vaccinated, Noč said.
Virologist Tatjana Avšič Županc said vaccination was important because history tells us that viruses whose only host are humans can be eradicated only with vaccination. She said the vaccination rate was also important for the virus not to remain broadly spread in the society.
Tadej Battelino from UKC Ljubljana's Paediatric Clinic also made a call for children to get vaccinated. In Slovenia, the age at which children can get a Covid jab is 12.
In a separate appeal made by the GZS, director general Aleš Cantarutti urged companies to strictly control adherence to the PCT reconvalescent-vaccinated-tested rule and to continue encourage employees to get vaccinated, while enabling remote work when possible.
"It is time for us as society to start acting responsibly. Let's pull the break as society and limit mutual contacts wherever possible. Only if we join forces and act responsibly can we overcome the current wave of Covid-19," he was quoted as saying in a GZS press release.
Pointing to what he termed "today's alarming numbers", Cantarutti said Sunday's new infections were by 530 higher than a week ago, also expressing sympathy with health workers. "It is urgent to show that we are a mature society which does not need government decrees on locking down public life and economic activity."
Get all the latest data on COVID and Slovenia, in easy to read charts, here