EU health commissioner urges Romania to accelerate vaccination effort
It is important to accelerate the pace of vaccination to counter the threat posed by variants, EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said upon visiting Romania on July 16.
Very positive meeting with 🇷🇴 Health Minister Ioana Mihăilă in Bucharest on #COVID19 vaccination progress. It is absolutely vital to accelerate vaccination in the coming days and weeks to counter the threat of variants.— Stella Kyriakides (@SKyriakidesEU) July 16, 2021
🇪🇺 is ready to support these efforts in every way possible. pic.twitter.com/4rL13JzEI7
Kyriakides spoke of the need to take advantage of vaccination in order to get back to normal. “My message to all Romanians: vaccines work, vaccines protect, vaccines defend us and our families and the healthcare systems. We should take advantage of this opportunity to get back to normal life.”
While in the country, Kyriakides visited a vaccination center in Petreşti, in Dâmbovița county, and met with health minister Ioana Mihăilă, who explained that efforts were focused on increasing the number of those vaccinated in rural areas and among the vulnerable categories.
Health minister Ioana Mihăilă also urged people to get vaccinated and said the fourth wave of the pandemic would be one of the unvaccinated. In an interview with television station Digi24, she explained that vaccinated people have a lower risk of developing severe forms of the illness even if they get infected with Covid-19.
“Even if the number of cases increased, vaccinated people are not at risk of developing severe forms. This is what we need to be aware of. Even if we had the illness, we get the vaccine because this is how we aren’t at risk of developing a severe form, even if we get infected with the Delta strain,” Mihăilă said.
She also explained that the Delta strain-related deaths in Romania were among unvaccinated people. “I believe that less than 1 percent of those vaccinated got ill, according to data from [the vaccination coordinating committee] CNCAV. What we know is that we have three deaths among the cases confirmed with the Delta strain, and none of the patients who passed away had been vaccinated. This fourth wave will be one of the unvaccinated. They will be the ones impacted.”
Asked about talks regarding the introduction of restrictions, the health minister said these would not be needed if people get vaccinated. “First of all, we need to be responsible and get vaccinated because then we will not need restrictions.”
By July 18, 4,877,205 people received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 4,719,068 were fully vaccinated. The daily number of those receiving the vaccine dropped from around 100,000 at the beginning of May to about 10,000 or less in recent weeks. Over the past 24 hours, 8,063 got vaccinated, 4,591 of them with the first dose.
At the end of June, the Government announced it would start selling or donating unused vaccine doses as interest in vaccination dropped. One batch of 1 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was sold to Denmark.
On July 18, Romania was second to last among EU countries on the cumulative uptake of at least one vaccine dose among adults older than 18, with 30.8% of the population over 18 having received at least one vaccine dose, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
(Photo: Gabriel Petrescu/ Dreamstime)