COVID vaccination certificate to be connected to the EU’s system soon 

September is an open COVID-19 vaccination month with every citizen above the age of 18 receiving the jab in an ongoing countrywide immunisation campaign, with the interest of citizens of all ages showing greater interest in getting the coronavirus shot. During a visit to the Health Care Centre No.1 in Tirana, Prime Minister Edi Rama renewed his appeal to the citizens to receive the vaccine shots to prevent severe cases and risk of death because of the COVID-19 infection. The government head also announced that work is underway to ensure that the vaccine certificates issued by health authorities become integrated part of the European Union’s digital COVID certificate system.

Accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu, and Dr. Silva Bino, the Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Control at the Public Health Institute, PM Rama visited the premises of the health care centre No. 1 in Tirana, where around 400 doses of the coronavirus vaccines are administered on daily basis, and where the preventive check-up programme has resumed since September 1.

“The vaccination challenge continues and increasing the number of administered doses has become a public health challenge. The current challenge is increasing vaccination coverage rates for students, teachers and university lecturers. The immunisation process goes on in all health care centres across the country and this centre is a model centre, where more than 400 vaccine doses are administered each day. We keep procuring and securing more doses of the coronavirus vaccines, with more than 2 million doses already delivered, while the number of vaccine doses scheduled to arrive in the country under the signed contracts and the donations is expected to jump to over three million by end of December, a sufficient supply to increase the vaccination coverage rate. The preventive medical check up has also resumed at this centre since September 1. We deemed it indispensable to open the basic medial control programme after a general survey on the population’s health, also because of the fact that we need to establish a long-COVID disease monitoring programme and we will certainly provide the citizens with the opportunity to undergo the medical check up and tests for free once a year,” Health Minister said.

PM Rama highlighted the importance of the immunisation programme, saying “the vaccine doesn’t necessarily protect people from contracting the infection, although the number of fresh cases among the vaccinated people is extremely low, but vaccination protects them from severe illness and risk of death.”

“It is crucially important for us to constantly reiterate that the students who refuse to receive the jab won’t be allowed to enter the lecture halls, because it is impossible that the responsible people, who are aware of the risk and want to be protected, can now be threatened by those who live with the conspiracy theories or completely non-scientific, unfounded and unjustifiable fears. Of course, nobody will be taken by force, but one has to be vaccinated when sharing certain premises with others. The same goes for the public administration. You should honour the obligation and get vaccinated when sharing public spaces with many other people. The rest of people cannot be sacrificed because of your protest against science or your ignorance about the reality. Of course, it would be wise for everyone to receive the vaccine, primarily to protect your own life, but, at the end of the day, you can’t threaten the others’ lives. If Albania is enjoying stability today and is performing better than many other countries around us, this is a result of the vaccination campaign. We have quickly expanded the mass vaccination programme and that’s why we are more protected today. If we were not to deliver and succeed in this process, if we were to fail in securing the required supplies for the mass vaccination since the very beginning, we would be today counting dozens of dead each day, just like it is the case with other countries currently after failing to launch the first vaccination phase. This is a fact,” the Premier stated.

The government head renewed his appeal to the university students, lecturers and teachers to get vaccinated; otherwise they will be forced to go on with the online schooling.

“Eventually, let them bear the cost of their ignorance, but this can’t degenerate into a fighting windmills story, since it is not us the ones who can overturn science and resort to opinions instead. Whole world is opting to mandatory vaccination, but we are applying a softer policy. Don’t you wish to get vaccinated? You can do so, but you won’t be allowed to enter public spaces, where others attend lessons, because they want to study, give lectures and work to serve the administration,” the Premier noted.

Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu that vaccination teams are being set up and are ready to deploy to universities and the student dormitories to provide everyone the opportunity to receive the vaccine at the university or the dormitory.

As for the green passport, Health Minister noted that all required procedures have completed to integrate the systems, not only to cross the border, but also gain access to the services provided in the European countries, so that the system is recognized.”