Friday, June 24, 2022

Outgoing Czech government to order vaccine mandate for 60+

PRAGUE (AP). The outgoing Czech government plans to introduce a mandate to vaccinate people aged 60 and over, as well as some professional groups, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said Friday. But it is not yet clear whether this measure will be implemented by his successor.

Vojtech said his ministry will issue a mandatory vaccination order next week for people in the 60+ age group, as well as for medical personnel, police officers, firefighters and medical students.

The order was supposed to come into force in March, but it may not work out.

The current administration of Prime Minister Andrei Babis will soon be replaced by a new government made up of the five parties that won the October parliamentary elections, led by the appointed Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

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The new government is expected to formally take office later this month. The coalition and its appointed Minister of Health, Vlastimil Valek, oppose the mandate to vaccinate the elderly and may end it as soon as they come to power.

So far, only 59.6% of people in the 10.7 million country have been fully vaccinated. Almost 20% of Czechs oppose vaccinations, according to the latest poll released on Friday.

The country is facing a record surge in coronavirus infections. The new daily increase last week reached a record high of nearly 28,000 cases. The infection rate stood at 1,135 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days on Thursday, now making the country one of the hardest hit countries in Europe.

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On Sunday, Fiala was sworn in to lead an 18-member government.

Babis, a billionaire populist, and his government formally resigned after the elections, but remain in power until an entire new government is appointed.


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