“Thank you to all those who are vaccinating. About 61 percent of the adult population is vaccinated. This is the key to being completely free,” Andrej Babiš stressed in Novy Den, adding that we are gradually returning to normal life. “People can move freely, there are almost no restrictions. And I think we will rather loosen up even more,” the prime minister said.
But experts warn of the delta mutation, which is spreading rapidly in the Czech Republic. For example, epidemiologist Roman Prymula told CNN Prima NEWS that measures will probably have to be tightened as early as August.
Immunologist Václav Hořejší has long feared the theoretical possibility of the arrival of a mutation that will be able to bypass vaccination. “If a variant were to emerge that could resist the antibodies, it would be a problem and we would have to start all over again. We’d have to watch for outbreaks and keep infected at the same number,” he told CNN’s Prima NEWS.
The key is vaccination
Experts and the prime minister agree that the key to preventing further lockdowns is vaccination. “Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning we open a vaccination centre without registration in Ostrava, then in Brno. The centres are working well in Chodov and at the main railway station. On Monday, Smíchov had problems, but from Wednesday we will deliver the Pfizer vaccine there,” Babiš noted, adding that there is also interest in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Because people come without registration, they get one dose and it’s done,” he explained. But people often complain about long queues at the centres.
We don’t want to mandate vaccinations
The prime minister also told Novy Den that he does not want to mandate vaccinations. “Our people are allergic to it, so we want to convince them,” he suggested. “That’s why, for example, VZP sent a letter last week to everyone over 60, and this week it will send a letter to all insured people over 18,” Babiš said, adding that he also wants the support of the media, celebrities and influencers.
“Let them help us with this. Because this is not a political issue, it is about protecting the health of all of us. We want to get back to normal, so we have to convince everyone who is not vaccinated with examples. I think it is gradually succeeding,” the prime minister said, adding that the Czech Republic must vaccinate 70 percent of the population.
However, there are still many people in the Czech Republic who do not want to be vaccinated. They justify this by saying that they do not trust the government or the experts who advise them, that they do not trust the vaccine or that they rely on their immunity. The opposition thus accuses the Prime Minister of not explaining sufficiently why people should be vaccinated.
Moreover, Babiš wants people with high levels of antibodies to benefit. “Unfortunately, although it is an advantage now, we are the most vaccinated nation in the world per capita. People who have had the disease and have antibodies should also have an advantage. That still needs to be worked out by the clinical group,” Babis noted on CNN’s Prima NEWS.