The third wave of the pandemic has already begun in Slovakia, the health ministry’s epidemiologist Martin Pavelka from the Institute of Health Analysis said on Wednesday, warning that the reproduction number has been above the critical value of one for three weeks.
“We can openly say that the third wave has already started,” wrote Pavelka in the report of the institute. The new wave will be predominantly driven by the more infectious Delta variant. Besides being more infectious, Pavelka also warned that it may result in more serious symptoms even among younger patients.
Available data also suggests that vaccination proves to be the best line of defence against the virus. Among those who tested positive in Slovakia in the last two weeks, 76% were unvaccinated.
Slovakia has still one of the lowest percentages of vaccinated people in the European Union. As of this week, 40% of the population received their first shot, while 36% had received both.
Experts warn that it is too little to achieve herd immunity. While vaccination speed is slowing down, the number of people refusing the vaccine is rising. According to the latest study, 51.7% are either vaccinated or willing to get vaccinated but 36% of those surveyed oppose it, which is 5% more than in May.
(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)