The vaccination center in Kotva costs millions a month

Petr Hloušek

The new vaccination center in the Kotva department store in Náměstí Republiky will cost the state millions of crowns a month, but the vast majority of that is staff costs. However, the premises’ rent is a symbolic crown per month. This should not create a situation like last year when the state rented space from a private owner for a never-used field hospital in Letňany for almost CZK 100 million.

On Monday, the health ministry opened a vaccination center in the Kotva shopping center, owned by Generali Real Estate. It is located on the 4th floor of the department store and is operated by the General University Hospital (VFN) in Prague.

According to the hospital’s spokeswoman, Marie Heřmánková, the monthly rent of the premises costs a symbolic crown. However, it is necessary to add additional utilities or energy costs, estimated at CZK 350,000. Heřmánková said the most important item would be staff costs, which she cannot quantify accurately. However, she said that it is necessary to count on millions.

Similar to PPF

The terms of the lease of the vaccination center in Kotva are similar to those the state received from the PPF group when it leased the O2 Universum hall for vaccination purposes.

The national vaccination center operated by the Central Military Hospital (CMH) operated there from 3 May to 10 September this year, with the rent amounting to a symbolic 1,000 for the entire period. The PPF has now offered the O2 arena premises for the vaccination center, but the state has used only the offer from Kotva.

The Sehnal case was worth a hundred million 

This will not repeat last year’s situation regarding the never-used field hospital in Prague’s Letňany. It was supposed to serve as a backup capacity if the hospital could not cope with the onslaught of COVID patients last autumn.

The Ministry of Health and its subordinate, the Bulovka University Hospital, leased the premises of the Letňany exhibition center from billionaire Pavel Sehnal. His companies offered the premises to the state for this purpose. The hospital was in emergency operation from last autumn until February this year.

During this period, the state paid Sehnal and his companies over CZK 74 million in rent alone, which amounts to a daily rate of approximately CZK 592,000. However, the cost of energy, technical equipment, and materials had to be added. Bulovka put the total cost of the field hospital, where not a single patient ended up, at almost CZK 100 million. Both the state and Sehnal were criticized for this.