Lithuania plans to finish inoculation of all its medics against Covid-19 by the end January, the country's Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys says.
“We believe that January could be the month when the medical community is fully vaccinated, not only those working directly [with coronavirus patients],” the minister told a press conference on Tuesday.
Deliveries of coronavirus vaccines that reached Lithuania on Monday and last week, a total of over 30,000 dozes, are being transported to the five coordinating hospitals, he said.
With the vaccines delivered so far, “we will be able to give the first jab to all healthcare and emergency medical assistance workers, doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, other personnel and volunteers – everyone fighting on the Covid-19 frontlines,” the minister said.
According to Dulkys, the European Commission and vaccine producers have assured that Lithuania will receive 20,475 vaccine dozes every week over the next three months.
Medics, vulnerable patients to be vaccinated first
A detailed plan for vaccinating the general population has already been drawn up, Dulkys said.
Laimonas Griškevičius, of Santaros Clinics in Vilnius and a member of the advisory council, says medics will be vaccinated first to prevent the collapse of the healthcare system.
Further down the priority list are groups of vulnerable patients, including those on dialysis, cancer patients and others for whom Covid-19 poses the biggest threat. Next in line are people in care homes.
Logistical complexities of transporting and storing the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines – which need to be kept in extremely low temperatures – also affected decisions whom to vaccinate first. Vaccination can only be done in a centralised way.
The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is the first and so far only vaccine approved for use in the European Union.
No country is happy with supply
None of EU member states is currently satisfied with the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, Lithuanian Health Minister Dulkys said.
“There's not a single country in the EU that is satisfied at the moment and says that we're happy with the schedule and quantities of vaccine supply. Everyone expects more,” he told reporters.
According to Dulkys, questions about the supply of vaccine should be addressed to the European Commission which is responsible for coordinating deliveries to the bloc's member states.