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Experts suggest that Latvia begin to vaccinate other risk groups

Starting Monday, all persons working in medical facilities who wish to do so shall be vaccinated against Covid-19. Experts say that even broader groups of people should have access to vaccines, Latvian Radio reported January 11.

At present, the vaccination pace is not too high – on Sunday, January 10, only 330 people were vaccinated. Until now, only medics in direct contact with Covid-19 patients and other groups of medical staff considered high-risk were vaccinated. Starting Monday, access to vaccines is free to all medical facility employees.

There is a hope that expanding the population to be vaccinated will also increase vaccination rates.

The head of the Latvian Hospital Association, Jevgēņijs Kalējs, welcomed the decision to vaccinate all medics. He said, though, that a wider range of vaccinations increases the load of vaccination offices, but due to lack of funding, some hospitals cannot open additional vaccination points.

“The previous week, hospitals were sent an order to open an additional vaccination point. But many hospitals refused because the financial coverage is very low. You have to employ a doctor or a doctor's assistant, a nurse, [provide] all the equipment. Unfortunately for one vaccination, the country was prepared to pay a little over €7,” said Kalējs.

It is not yet possible to draw conclusions on responsiveness of medical staff. However, the changes that come into force on Monday should have a positive effect on the increase in the amount of vaccination. 

Member of the Board of Governors of the Latvian Association of Doctors, Angelika Krūmiņa, greatly welcomes the change and said that the pace of vaccination should be even faster.

When asked when she thought was the moment when the next group, namely social services workers and customers, should start to be vaccinated, Krūmiņa said that this should happen now.

“No need to be postponed, because in fact, these people and employees who are in this business are also at risk and should also be vaccinated at the same time, just like medical workers. It would be good news, and also foreign experience has shown that these risk groups in social care should also be actively involved and vaccinated,” said Krūmiņa.

An interactive map of the locations and contact details of Covid-19 vaccination points has also been set up. This is intended to make it easier to find out where you can get vaccinated.

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