Daugavpils hospital plans to allow choice between vaccines

Residents in Latvia's second-largest city, Daugavpils, will have an option to choose between vaccines against Covid-19, city council vice-president Līvija Jankovska  told the LETA newswire Tuesday April 13.

She explained that the local government, working with the Ministry of Health and the Vaccination Project Bureau, had achieved a variety of vaccines being delivered to the city. This week, as educators are starting to get their jabs, it will be possible to choose between AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Pfizer/BioNTech.

At the same time, the City Council, in cooperation with the responsible authorities, will carry out informative campaigns aimed at the public, including educators, on the importance of vaccination. Also, educators are being surveyed about their willingness to get a jab.

Currently around 3,600 Daugavpils residents (total population around 82,000 as of 2020) have been vaccinated against Covid-19. About one-quarter of them have received both doses of vaccine.

Already at the beginning of the vaccination process in Latvia, vaccination in Latvia's eastern part took place significantly slower than other regions and during the opening of the city's mass vaccination center there were reports of members of the public declining the AstraZeneca jab, most likely due to headlines in numerous news outlets linking it - whether correctly or not - to a risk of blood clots.  

However, the government's vaccine communication strategy again appeared to be lacking with Health Minister Daniels Pavļuts saying that there was a misunderstanding and there is no such possibility to choose specific vaccines per patient in Latvia.

"Access for all regions of Latvia is equal - wherever possible, we deliver vaccines from various manufacturers. Daugavpils does not differ from other cities in this respect," Pavļuts said, adding that the choice of vaccine was a matter for medical professionals.

Nevertheless, the head of Daugavpils regional hospital, Grigorijs Semjonovs told Rus.LSM.lv that people would indeed be able to choose either AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines at Daugavpils hospital when signing up for vaccination.

According to Semjonovs, the hospital wanted to assess whether the choice would have a positive effect and that more people would want to be vaccinated, and said that if it were the case, the hospital would continue this practice.

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