Ex-Lithuanian president calls vaccine communication non-existent, rollout chaotic

  • 2021-03-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – National-level vaccination-related communication is practically non-existent in Lithuania, the country's former President Dalia Grybauskaite says, describing the vaccination process itself as chaotic.

"Public communication, at least at the national level, is practically non-existent from the government side and, therefore, possibilities and niches emerge for all others to take part in discussions in various forms. Of course, discussions are good but, speaking seriously, I really don’t see that understanding that communication should be at the national level, to have visual communication and regular verbal, explanatory communication," the ex-president told the national television LRT.

In her words, the vaccination process itself reflects that and is uneven and chaotic.

"We see that everything has been put on the shoulders of general practitioners, and regional municipal and other medical establishments, and the vaccination pace has started differing: 65-year-olds are already being invited in some places, others start inviting 70-year-olds, and still others have not finished vaccinating 80-year-olds," Grybauskaite said. "If the situation remains unchanged when mass vaccination starts, I believe we will have even more problems."

The fact that the vaccine delivery schedule is not fully clear is not a justification as quite a number of vaccines remain unused, Grybauskaite said.

"We see very specific numbers of received and used vaccines and the difference is too big. As the number of vaccines goes up, we will have an even bigger difference, therefore, there can be no such justifications," the former leader said. "We have a chaos that might evolve into even bigger problems a month later already when we get a bigger number of vaccines or mass vaccination starts."

Programs should have been prepared to automatically produce lists of people to be vaccinated, Grybauskaite believes, expressing her surprise that everything is now being done manually.

Grybauskaite got a coronavirus jab earlier this week and says she feels fine, adding that a slight pain in the place of injection went away really fast.

"I get flu jabs every year and that allowed be maintaining the pace and stay healthy through the whole 10 years of presidency," the ex-president said.

Lithuania is now vaccinating cancer patients and elder residents. Some 200,000 people have already received the first jab and some 80,500 people have received two dozes of a coronavirus vaccine, the official figures show.