Head of the national vaccination campaign Valeriu Gheorghita on Tuesday warned that it is “very likely” that the Delta version of the SARS-CoV-2 viral strain, from India, has all the characteristics to become a “dominant variant,” saying that it’s important because of that for the authorities to make sure that people who wish to do so have access to vaccination, in order to have a sufficient coverage rate to slow the spread of the virus, otherwise Romania risking a fourth wave of increased number of infections.
“The pandemic is not over, it is very obvious that there are currently four worrying viral variants, as they have been classified by the World Health Organization – the Alfa or British version, the Beta version or the South African version, Gama, the Brazilian variant, and last but not least, the Delta variant or the Indian variant. This strain has a contagiousness capacity about 50pct higher than the British variant and we know that the British variant had a contagiousness capacity of at least 30 -50pct higher than the original version in Wuhan (…). Unlike the original strain, which had a basic reproduction number between 2 and 3. So we are definitely talking about a much higher contagiousness and, unfortunately, what is happening right now in the UK shows that this variant tends to spread a lot among the population, with the most diagnosed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection being now caused by this Delta variant,” Valeriu Gheorghita told a press conference held at the Victoria Palace.
The head of CNCAV underscored that there is a good part in terms of epidemiological control measures, namely that the current vaccines prove their effectiveness against this viral variant, provided that the complete vaccination schedule is carried out.
He underscored that Romania has maintained the recommendations set out in the summary of product characteristics to complete the vaccination schedule as provided for all 3 types of vaccines – 21 days for Pfizer, 28 days for Moderna and 8 weeks for Astra Zeneca – which was a wise decision given the appearance of “other mutant viral variants.”
Romania, on schedule with the implementation of the digital green certificate on July 1
Romania is on schedule with the procedures for implementing the digital green certificate on July 1, the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health Andrei Baciu said on Tuesday.
“We are on schedule for the objective assumed on July 1. Even before this press conference, we had another working meeting with all the institutions involved – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, STS, INSP, just to complete in the best possible conditions all the necessary things on July 1, the announced deadline for the implementation of this digital certificate in Romania as well,” Baciu stated.
He said the regulation on the certificate was published in the EU’s official gazette on Tuesday morning, saying some regulations would likely be adopted next week.
The STS representative at the press conference indicated that it is a “very complex” computer system, which will have the two components.
“At the moment, my colleagues are working for the development of the secure portal component, it will practically be the site where all vaccinated people, but also those from other categories will be able to download their digital certificates. The system is complex because this portal is just a simple site, it will have interconnections with the vaccination register, it will have interconnections with the Corona Forms application, where you can find people who have been tested positive or negative at some point. (…) We expect it to be a system accessed by a lot of people, and that’s why we have to ensure all the time necessary for the development, testing phase, before it is implemented,” he explained.
On the other hand, the head of the National Coordinating Committee for Vaccination Activities against COVID-19 (CNCAV), Valeriu Gheorghita, specified that over 997,000 electronic immunization certificates were downloaded from the platform of the National Electronic Vaccination Register.
“Almost a quarter of those vaccinated have downloaded their electronic certificates,” he said.
Gheorghita: 16,411 adverse events following immunization in over 4.5 million persons reported in Romania
Doctor Valeriu Gheorghita said on Tuesday that as of June 14, 16,411 adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were reported, which means an AEFI reporting rate of about 1.9 per 1,000 doses administered in more than 4.5 million vaccinated people, of which over 4.2 million fully vaccinated.
“Regarding the type of vaccine and the AEFI reporting rate for the Pfizer vaccine, the rate is 1.2 reactions per 1,000 doses administered; for the Moderna vaccine – 2.8 reactions per 1,000; for the AstraZeneca vaccine – 7.4 per 1,000 doses administered, and for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – 0.9 per 1,000 doses administered,” Gheorghita told a news conference at the Government House.
He added that as far as the number of people vaccinated from the beginning of the mass immunisation campaign in Romania is concerned, December 27, 2020 – June 14, 2021, over 4.5 million people were immunised, of over 4.2 million fully vaccinated.
“Regarding the vaccination coverage rate by age group, the highest vaccination coverage is 36%, in the age group 60 – 69 years, followed by the age group 70 – 79 years – 33.75% and 33.25% in the age group 50 – 59 years old,” said Gheorghita.
Romania requests suspension of delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses in June
Romania has requested the suspension of the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses in June, and it will receive 2,635,680 out of a total of 7,103,160 scheduled for the month, senior official with the Romanian Health Ministry Andrei Baciu announced on Tuesday.
“A procedure is already underway to align the legal framework, the legal rules that allow the resale of doses by the Ministry of Health, but for the period immediately ahead, given the fact that there is a surplus of doses and precisely to have an as effective as possible management of stockpiles a suspension was considered and a request was submitted for the delivery of some doses,” he explained at a news conference.
According to Baciu, Romania should have received this June 4,366,444 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer BioNTech, but, as a result of the request to keep them on stand-by for a time, only 1,928,162 will be delivered.
As many as 835,200 doses were to be received from Moderna and the delivery of some batches has been suspended, so that only 128,400 will be delivered. At the same time, only 167,200 doses of the Astra Zenecca vaccine will be received in June.
“The weekly doses and batches of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not suspended; they will be carried out as announced. We received 144,000 in the first week, in the second week we received 61,800, 48,800 come this week, the following week 41,400 and in the last week 115,920, adding up to a total of 411,920 of the Johnson & Johnson doses,” said Baciu.
He added that a total of 7,103,160 doses of vaccine had to be delivered this month, but in order to have an efficient management of the existing stockpiles only 2,635,680 will be actually delivered.
To date, Romania has received almost 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Gheorghita: 13,391 children aged 12-15 got vaccinated until now
Doctor Valeriu Gheorghita on Tuesday said that, so far, 13,391 children between 12 and 15 years old have been immunised, most of them in Bucharest – 3,152 and in the counties of Cluj – 1,173, Ilfov – 631 and Timis – 615.
The vaccination campaign for this age group started on June 2.
Valeriu Gheorghita also told a press conference at the Victoria Palace that the vaccination at the family doctors, started on May 4, is taking place in all counties and in Bucharest.
According to him, 129,102 people were vaccinated with the first dose, in the week of June 7-14, of which over 88.7pct showed up at the respective vaccination centre without an appointment.
Also, 26,585 foreign citizens were vaccinated against COVID in Romania with the first dose and 15,594 with both doses.
The head of CNCAV also mentioned that 2,132 patients were vaccinated in 127 public hospitals in 34 counties, and 365 patients in 27 private hospitals, in 14 counties.
As of this week, 17 other public hospitals will have vaccination centres.