Minister says Covid pass introduced to restrain epidemic not enforce vaccination
Maribor – Health Minister Janez Poklukar said in an interview with the newspaper Večer that the expansion of the Covid pass requirement had been introduced to put the epidemic under control not to force anyone to get vaccinated. He said hospitals would soon need to restrict access to their services due to rising Covid-19 hospitalisations.
Currently, more than 350 people need hospitalisation and “next week, when the figure reaches 520, hospitals will need to start limiting their programmes”.
The prices of hospital treatment of Covid-19 patients have decreased significantly since the start of the epidemic. “We told hospitals then that the prices will be adjusted if actual data show they are too low. The Association of Health Institutions will get new calculations these days and we will decide on future steps based on this.”
According to the minister, plans are being made at the moment on how to prevent the spreading of infections at schools and whether to demand more frequent testing. If the situation deteriorates, younger students will have to be tested as well, he said.
The recovered-tested-vaccinated rule has been introduced to put the epidemic under control. “Maybe we quietly wished for this to encourage vaccination, but this was definitely not an argument to put pressure on people to get vaccinated.
“Since we have not reached a sufficient vaccination rate, we needed to find a way to keep the society open, and have safe working and social environments,” he said.
The minister would not comment on the government’s decision to hire Edvard Kadič, who expressed doubt in the safety of vaccination of children on a blog a few years go, to lead the campaign promoting vaccination.
Asked about staffing problems in healthcare, he said negotiation on wages were under way to “at least temporarily stop departures of nurses, especially from hospitals”.
Changes are also planned in internship for nurses and doctors, and norms for accepting patients.
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