In the Czech Republic, mobile teams have begun vaccinating people against COVID-19 in socially excluded localities
Last week Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO) announced that the vaccination of people living in excluded localities of the Moravian-Silesian Region and Ústecký Region would be aided by mobile teams. At the close of the week, the first such teams traveled to the locality of Mojžíř in the Ústecký Region.
When the Czech News Agency asked the minister how homeless people or the socially excluded were being provided with vaccination, he said mobile teams arranged by the regional authorities would be offering vaccination to people in such situations. The minister said he assumed people living in excluded localities would not be visiting the existing centers for vaccination on their own.
"The immunization team should go to them and vaccinate them in the places they frequent," the minister said. As of 20 July, health care workers have delivered more than 9.6 million doses of vaccine against the novel coronavirus throughout the Czech Republic.
Almost 4.3 million people in the Czech Republic are currently fully vaccinated. In the Ústecký Region, however, there are areas where the immunization rate is lower.
Petr Severa, Ústecký Regional Coordinator for Vaccinations, told public broadcaster Czech Radio that socially excluded localities are the main areas where fewer people have been vaccinated. Such areas include the town of Trmice in the Ústecký Region.
The proportion of those vaccinated against the novel coronavirus is lower there than elsewhere in the region. "Trmice, for example, is just about 45 % immunized," Severa explained to Czech Radio.
"Some of the other less-immunized municipalities are, for example, Obrnice or Bílina, despite a center for vaccination being located there," Severa said. According to Petr Globočník from the Romano Jasnica association, immunization rates are low in excluded localities because options for transportation to the centers of vaccination are poor, but disinformation is also playing a role.
"In association with vaccinations, disinformation is circulating on social media, for example," Globočník said. "I have personally encountered people insisting that if they were to be vaccinated they would become magnetized and such."
"So many people believe this that it was almost curious," Globočník said. The necessity of contacting people in person and explaining how vaccination works was demonstrated by the mobile team visit to the excluded locality of Mojžíř.
"It's good they came here," local resident Vlasta Nanárová said to news server Seznam Zprávy about the mobile team. "People are saying all kinds of things, that if one gets the injection, one dies."
"I heard people out on the street saying that and I was absolutely over it," Nanárová said. "Then I decided today that if the boys [my sons] have been twice vaccinated and managed it, I'll go too."
"I hadn't decided until now, I was on the fence," Nanárová told the news server. People living in excluded localities are being given vaccines from the Johnson & Johnson company, which require just one dose instead of two.
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