Deputy PM: over 1.8m Belarusians get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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More than 1.8 million people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Belarus, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko told the ONT TV channel, BelTA informs.

“By now, more than 1.8 million Belarusians have been vaccinated with the first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine and the vaccine made by Chinese company Sinopharm. Some 1.5 million people have been vaccinated with the second dose. We need to keep increasing vaccination coverage rates,” Igor Petrishenko said.

According to him, healthcare workers were the first to get the shot. More than 80% of medical professionals have been vaccinated so far. They are exposed to the virus more than others and there are many first-responders among them. Over 65% of social workers and over 50% of teachers have got the jab. “Just a few weeks ago, we received the Sputnik Light vaccine. We plan to vaccinate students, since serious cases are on the rise in younger adults, so we need to protect our young people and children,” the vice-premier said.

Speaking about COVID-19 bonuses for health workers, he noted: “These bonuses remain. Indeed, the payment scheme was adjusted taking into consideration the implementation practices and the fact that certain protective measures have been in place (medical and nursing staff are fully provided with personal protective equipment, the medical staff is being vaccinated). In this regard, budgetary funds should be spent in an optimal and fair way. The amount of bonuses for frontline workers will still depend on their working hours. This practice will remain in place. Last year alone, we spent Br562 million to eliminate the aftermath of the pandemic. Over the eight months of this year, we have already exceeded this amount by Br200 million. The state keeps this issue under control,” the deputy prime minister said.