Czech Government Paid CZK 21 Billion For COVID Vaccines, But Used Much Less
50 million vaccine doses had been ordered for the Czech Republic so far; 17 million have been used and covered by health insurers. Photo Credit: Freepik
Prague, Aug 28 (CTK) – The Czech state paid CZK 21 billion for COVID-19 vaccines, but in the end health insurance companies covered 17 million doses worth just CZK 7 billion, Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) told Czech TV yesterday.
The state also paid another CZK 1.5 billion for unused drugs, spent on monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 treatment that the state ordered hospitals to buy, said Valek on the political talk show, Questions from Vaclav Moravec.
If European authorities approve the vaccines modified for the new coronavirus variants in the days to come, the Czech Republic will receive around 3.5 million doses that have already been ordered.
“We have agreed with Pfizer that if the modified vaccines are approved, all supplies until the end of the year will include the modified ones, roughly 3.5 million doses,” said Valek.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is due to approve the new vaccines at talks on September 1 and 5.
Former health minister Roman Prymula, who occupied the post during the first year of the epidemic, criticised the method of purchasing vaccines.
Valek pointed out that 50 million vaccine doses had been ordered for the Czech Republic so far; 17 million have been used and covered by health insurers, the rest paid for by the state.
“I would like to modify the contracts with producers. Another change is that we will always get the most up-to-date vaccines,” he added.
Valek and Prymula agree on the issue of wearing respirators, saying they should not be mandatory. At present, the Health Ministry only recommends them in certain public spaces, mainly healthcare and social care facilities.
Prymula said the wearing of face masks at schools was counterproductive since it cannot be ensured that they are being used correctly anyway.
At present, it is not appropriate for people to have more free COVID tests without a doctor’s certificate, said Prymula.
Valek previously promised at least one COVID-19 test for free from October.
“The costs of a high number of tests are exorbitant and will not halt this epidemic anyway,” said Prymula.
The current coronavirus variant is much more contagious than the original variant that appeared in the Czech Republic for the first time in March 2020.