Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Did Vaccination Work?

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Marina DRAGALIN Despite the growing global incidence rates, the situation in Moldova has somewhat stabilized. The population vaccination program is yielding results: the number of new infections, especially among medical personnel got significantly reduced. For several months, there has been a rather sharp jump withinCOVID-19 incidence in the world. According to the Head of the World Health Organization Tedros Ghebreyesus, over the past two months, experts have recorded an almost twofold new casesincrease. Experts are warning of an upcoming peak COVID-19 spread over the entire pandemic. “COVID-19 infecting and deaths continue rising upto a rate of concern allaround the world. The weekly number of new cases worldwide has nearly doubled in the past couple of months and is approaching the highest infection rate we've seen during the entire pandemic. A number of countries that previously avoided rapid spread are now facing an increase in infections,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesussaid. The World Health Organization has extended the Global Health Emergency for more three months as the pandemic "continues being an emergency." In total, more than 145 million people in the worldfell ill; out them more than 3 million died. Against this background, countries with good vaccinationrates where the incidencekeeps decreasing become a source of hope inpandemic overcoming. An example isIsrael where coronavirus hospitals get closed since no need for their further functioning. At the same time, there’s a number of countries where population immunization gets on extremely slow. The pool of problems associated with limited access to vaccinations, according to experts, can go beyond the purely medical and thus, greatly exacerbate inequality and segregation. Concerns, in particular, are associated with COVID certificates introducinginto use. Vaccination passports have already begun to be issued in Israel, and these documents give access to theaters, cinemas, restaurants and traveling abroad without testing. France is the first one to launch coronavirus travel passports in the EU. The COVID travel pass, the first digital green pass is slated to be rolled out across the EU by mid-June. The TousAntiCovid application has been developed in the "kit" with the travel card which will display PCR tests, antigen tests and vaccination certificates. The app will be shortly tested on Air France and Air Corsica flights. The WHO Emergency Committee does not support the idea of passports with mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for foreign tourists and recommends not requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry for foreigners. “States are urged to recognize that vaccine proof requirements can exacerbate inequalities and promote differential freedom of movement,” experts say. In terms of our country, talking about mass vaccination coverage is too early. About one hundred thousand doses of  vaccine have been introduced in Moldova, which gives immunization coverage to 2.5% of the population. However, the vaccination results are already visible even with such indicators. In particular, the National Agency of Public Health announced that the number of infections among medical personnel decreased by more than 82%, and the total number of infections compared to last month fell by more than a quarter. In total, 248 thousand cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in Moldova, 5668 of them were fatal. Moldova has 200 vaccination centers, and their number is going to reach 280 by the end of the week. All vaccinated persons are registered in the electronic COVID-19 vaccinations register and receive a so-called immunization passport with a special code. The immunization campaign will continue at an accelerated pace following the receipt of new vaccine batches. The Ministry of Health, in particular, is in talks with 10 manufacturers to purchase a COVID vaccine. “We are about to receive a batch of 182 thousand doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. We have begun preparing all the necessary documents and are waiting for their arrival in the near future. We have confirmation of the possibility to receive a batch of Pfizer vaccine through the COVAX platform in June. At the same time, our team is making a lot efforts and is negotiating with about 10 vaccine manufacturers,” State Secretary of the Ministry of Health Denis Cernelea said earlier this week. At the same time, experts urge citizens not to relax and be careful during the Easter holidays. A new wave of infections is expected at the end of May, as the last year's experience shows that holiday family gatherings contribute to the spread of the virus.