Latvia will receive first AstraZeneca vaccines in January, instead of December - Vinkele

  • 2020-11-18
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The initial agreements with the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca envisaged that they would reach Latvia at the end of December, but now the manufacturer has informed that it will not be possible to receive the vaccines sooner than in January, Minister of Health Ilze Vinkele (For Development) told reporters last night.

The Minister refused to mention a specific date when the vaccines could arrive in Latvia, stating that there is still enough uncertainty on the part of the manufacturer. Consequently, the question of whether the vaccines will actually arrive in Latvia in January, according to Vinkele, does not currently depend on herself or the government as a whole.

However, she explained that there are two doses of the vaccine per person, which together make up one course of the vaccine. This means that the mentioned 800,000 persons, which is the number of persons to be vaccinated in Latvia, would need 1,600,000 doses of the vaccine.

According to the Minister, EUR 1.6 million has been paid in advance for these vaccines. In total, there are seven manufacturers with whom European Union agreements have been concluded, two of which, according to Vinkele, will be able to produce vaccines relatively safely.

As reported, when Covid-19 vaccines are available in Latvia, vaccination will take place gradually, first granting vaccines to medical workers, then social care center clients and employees, Health Ministry's representative Anna Strapcane reported.

Further on the vaccination list would be senior citizens over 65, people with chronic illnesses, employees of emergency services and education establishments. This order has been adopted based on the European Commission's recommendation and practice in other countries.

Currently it is planned that government-funded vaccine could be ensured to more than 800,000 people, but this number could be higher.

The National Health Service has already signed an agreement on supply of vaccines with two producers AstraZeneca and Johnson&Jphnson. If these vaccines are registered, more than 800,000 Latvian residents can receive the vaccines.

At the same time, there are ongoing negotiations also with other producers.