Romania’s president says the country will have ‘one or two’ anti-Covid-19 vaccines by the beginning of 2021 when the country will start to inoculate health professionals and high-risk groups.
When “the first batch comes we’ll be able to give shots to all healthcare professionals,” followed by patients who are vulnerable to the virus due to underlying health conditions such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease, President Klaus Iohannis said.
“I think this is very good news,” the president said on Monday, announcing that he’d visit a vaccine center later this week. “We should start from the idea that mass inoculation can start in Spring, but we need to wait a bit to have an exact description of every vaccine so that medics decide who gets it,” he said.
Romania will get vaccines approved by the European Commission.
The virus has spiked in recent weeks and authorities have imposed quarantine in the worst-affected areas. On Monday, 3,826 new coronavirus cases were reported, but only 9,875 tests were carried out, less than a third of the average number. Some 138 patienets with Covid-19 succumbed to the virus in the past 24 hours, the lowest single-day death toll in a week.
Romania has reported more than 475,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began and more than 11,300 deaths, one of the highest rates in the region.
Authorities hope the vaccination program will vastly reduce cases. The president said he had confidence it would be “a success, even if some people make comments about it, I can assure you that the vaccines which are being produced are efficient and safe.”
Romania’s government adopted an immunization strategy to inoculate the public against SARS-CoV-2 on Friday and estimates up to 70% of the population will be inoculated.
The first batches of the vaccine are expected to arrive in December with the program starting in January, Health Minister Nelu Tataru said.
The vaccine will be „free and voluntary,” according to Valeriu Gheorghita, the doctor coordinating the anti-Covid-19 vaccination program.
The two-dose coronavirus vaccine regimens complicate the procedure. The current vaccines require two injections spaced either three or four weeks apart.
Authorities will reach out to specialists and civil society to help in the public awareness campaign as vaccination begins.