Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced that France would provide the Czech Republic with 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in mid-March.
Babiš tried to negotiate for more vaccines from other European countries, as the country’s situation has been deteriorating and the healthcare system is at risk of collapse. According to the daily Hospodářské noviny, Babiš addressed European countries through the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The Commission subsequently informed the other EU countries of the Czech request.
“We have been trying for a long time to get some extra vaccines and succeeded with Israel. France has now promised us 100,000 (vaccines) by March 15,” said the prime minister.
Earlier this week, Israel promised to donate 5,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to the Czech Republic. These will be used to vaccinate soldiers who serve in hospital wards with COVID-19 patients.
Israel has also given vaccines to other countries in exchange for support in the diplomatic area.
The Czech Republic currently uses three vaccines, all of them registered in the EU, namely the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
With the dismal epidemiological situation, there has been criticism of the slow vaccination process. PM Babiš, however, rejects the claim that the Czech Republic will not be able to use all the supplied vaccines.
“So far, we have received 797,460 vaccines. This week on Tuesday evening, 93,000 vaccines from Pfizer, today 80,400 vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca cut our supplies by 20,000,” noted the prime minister.
So far, 600,429 people in the Czech Republic have received the vaccination. According to Babiš, when the number of newly obtained vaccines is deducted from the total number of vaccines obtained, only 20,631 unused vaccines are left.
“After all, no one can criticize us for not vaccinating with doses that still have not arrived today or that came on Tuesday evening,” Babiš responded to the criticism that the administration of vaccines has been too slow.
Title image: Medical workers move a COVID-19 patient into an ambulance at a hospital overrun by the pandemic in Cheb, the Czech Republic, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)