Slovakia Receives 15,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Doses As Gift From France - Gov't

PRAGUE (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th March, 2021) France has fulfilled its pledge to send 15,000 AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses to Slovakia as a gift, Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Sunday.

"Slovakia received 15 thousand AstraZeneca vaccines from France in Bojnice [city in central Slovakia]," Matovic wrote on Facebook.

He also noted that the vaccine shipment would go to use starting Monday, adding that the elderly aged 60-70 would receive jabs since recent studies showed that the AstraZeneca vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization by 94 percent in the fourth week after the first shot.

The prime minister expressed gratitude to Paris for the shipment and for the latter's efforts to persuade the European Union to allocate 100,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to Bratislava.

In response to Slovakia's request for assistance from the EU, a number of Western countries, including Romania and Poland, offered medical staff and the partial transportation of COVID-19 patients to their territory for treatment.

Earlier this week Slovakia received the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine, purchased from Moscow at the initiative of Matovic, a move condemned by the country's other high-ranking officials, as the Russian vaccine has not yet been authorized by the EU.

The country has been under a state of health emergency since October 2020. Earlier this week, the authorities updated the list of COVID-19 restrictions, adding a curfew from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m (7:00 to 00:00 GMT), and the mandatory wearing of respirators in public places later this month.

In December, the government kicked off a mass vaccination campaign, using vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, but later encountered delays and other issues with the shipments of the vaccines.

To date, Slovakia has vaccinated 343,480 people with the first dose, and administered second jabs to 179,309 people.