Democracy Digest: Vaccine Approval Can’t Come Soon Enough for Region

The Czech Republic is ready to begin its vaccination program as soon as that EU approval is complete, and the first doses should be made available during the Christmas holidays, Health Minister Jan Blatny boasted on Wednesday. Unfortunately, however, those doses will number no more than 10,000.

Vaccination coordinator Zdenek Blahuta said this week that a similar number of doses should arrive in January, despite hopes for over 250,000. He added that Prague hopes that the delay in deliveries, blamed on Pfizer's capacity, should be over by February or perhaps March. Blahuta's career prospects are currently unclear, but the official government position is still that everything is on schedule for the mass vaccination effort to start sooner, in January.

Still, the Czechs may not need many doses. According to surveys, no more than 40 per cent of the population is prepared to take the jab. The prospect of low uptake has provoked fierce criticism of the government - from the prime minister, oddly enough. Why has the country not been educated? Andrej Babis demanded to know in parliament, doing a good impression of being the leader of the opposition. "We should have been convincing the people for a long time that the solution to this terrible situation that all of us are experiencing this year is vaccination. Only vaccination," the PM thundered.

The hope of vaccination comes as Czechia crossed another milestone, with 10,000 now having died of COVID. With new infections also on the rise again just a couple of weeks after restrictions were relaxed, pubs and restaurants were once more shuttered from Friday.

In Poland, the government's commissioner for the National Vaccination Program and head of the Prime Minister's Office, Michal Dworczyk, told a...

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