Slovenia will from now on use only mRNA vaccines against Covid-19, i.e. those produced by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna, while vector vaccines, such as AstraZeneca's and Johnson&Johnson's, will only be used "as an exception, or upon request," Croatian state news agency Hina said on Monday, citing Slovenia's Health Minister, Janez Poklukar.
Speaking at a press conference in Ljubljana, Poklukar said that only persons with contraindications to the mRNA vaccines would be able to get vaccinated with a vector vaccine, or those who explicitly request to be vaccinated with such a vaccine.
The decision is based on a recommendation by a group of medical experts after a young woman died less than two weeks after receiving the Johnson&Johnson vaccine.
The group has also recommended the Pfizer vaccine for people aged up to 30 years because of the latest data on the risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the cardiac muscle) in people inoculated with Moderna.
Poklukar said that half of Slovenians were vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines and the other half with the vector vaccines. A total of 49.5 percent of the population have been fully inoculated.
Asked if the change to the vaccination strategy would reduce the interest in vaccination, he said that the use of the safer mRNA vaccines would increase the public’s trust and hence the vaccination rate.
Poklukar said that the recommendation by the expert group regarding the administration of a third dose to immuno-compromised persons and those older than 65 had also been adopted, adding that the mRNA vaccines, notably Pfizer’s, would be used for this purpose. He said that the third dose would be administered 20 days after the second dose or later.