Vaccination is not compulsory but we are contemplating the introduction of certain restrictions as of September or October if we face another wave. We cannot all suffer just because someone does not want to get vaccinated. We cannot live in a bubble and this is why the vaccines are here – to bring life back to normal, said Health Minister Venko Filipche on Tuesday.
“We were aware that an anti-vaccination campaign would happen sooner or later. We faced the same with the measles outbreak a couple of years ago. However, vaccination was the instrument used at the time and we squashed the outbreak by enlarging the scope of vaccinated children. We also banned non-vaccinated children from attending kindergarten or school,” Minister Filipche told reporters.
He said regional trends are similar when it comes to the scope of vaccinated people.
“Nearly 450,000 people have already been vaccinated in the country, of whom 270,000 receiving the second dose. The scope differs among cities – about 30 percent in Skopje and Kumanovo, 40 percent in Bitola and Ohrid, less in other cities,” noted Filipche.
According to him, all vaccination sites are open for citizens to get a jab without an appointment, with sufficient quantities of vaccines available.
“The vaccine is efficient for all virus variants and we must be aware that the vaccine is the way to put an end to the pandemic,” said Filipche and added that over 85 percent of the health staff has already been inoculated, and over 50 percent of employees in kindergartens and schools.
Asked about the percentage of the population required to get a vaccine, he said this number needs to be high due to the new aggressive variants.
“Herd immunity requires 80 percent of vaccinated people and we are far from this for the time being. Therefore, the Ministry, the Government, the EU Delegation, UNICEF have all urged and campaigned for people to get vaccinated,” said Filipche.