In contrast to Israel or Great Britain, coronavirus vaccination is slow in the Czech Republic. As Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stated in an interview for the Právo daily, the lack of vaccines is due to the delayed approval process of the European Commission, on which Czechia, as an EU country, is dependent. Babiš acknowledged that the joint purchase of vaccines under the EU auspices is rather a hindrance for Czechia. However, he pointed out the turmoil that would ensue if all 27 states began to compete to buy the vaccine individually. But he does not want to leave the European Commission’s negligence unanswered. He plans to ask the Commission about the delayed approval process. “We asked the European Council on Dec. 10, after Great Britain started vaccinating on Dec. 8, why the EU has not begun the process as well. The answer was that the vaccine was not approved. We called for faster action. Unfortunately, there was a long delay. It is not normal that the AstraZeneca vaccine, purchased in August, has not yet been approved. The EC argues that there are insufficient capacities, and we, as a member country, are dependent on it,” Babiš explained.
In connection with the slow approval of vaccines, the Czech Prime Minister said that the current situation is amiss and that the EU must act faster. “We are ready for vaccinating,” he continued, adding that Czechia will be eventually able to satisfy all those interested in getting the vaccine. However, Babiš is not sure whether vaccinated people will be allowed to put down their face masks. “I’m vaccinated, but I’m still wearing a respirator. We don’t know everything about the virus yet. One doctor claims that those who overcame the coronavirus will have antibodies for a year. We do not know if vaccination will help for a year or longer. That is yet to be found out,” he said. According to his information, about 40 percent of Czech citizens are interested in vaccination. But the country does not currently have a vaccine for such a number of people, as it is waiting for the EU to deliver it, Babiš concluded.
Title image: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in his office (Andrej Babiš/Facebook)