Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Hype within Vaccination Marathons

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Marina DRAGALIN The epidemiological situation in Moldova continues improving, the incidence of COVID-19 in the country is the lowest since the beginning of the year. At the same time, the vaccination campaign’s pace is growing, since it got additionally rocked by vaccination marathons. At the moment, as statistics says there’s a trend towards COVID-19 incidence decrease in the world, which was outlined at the beginning of the month and keeps lasting. The number of new cases per day fell by almost 35% on average and reached 850 to 550 thousand. Moreover, about 45% of new cases occur in Southeast Asia. The first places for coronavirus spread belong to the United States (+34 thousand per day), India (+27.5 thousand) and Brazil (+16.3 thousand). In total, almost 170 million people fell ill in the world. Mortality rates are declining as well. During the pandemic, 3.5 million people died. However, according to some World Health Organization’s estimates, the total mortality from the virus is at least 2-3 times higher than the officially registered data, and the real number of deaths could reach 6-8 million. WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus also noted that the number of deaths within the second year of the pandemic could be higher than it was in the first one. Experts associate this possibility with the emergence of new, more dangerous strains and emphasize the importance of conducting active and large-scale campaigns to immunize the population. Given some public vaccines mistrust and a general inertia within vaccination issues, the countries are trying to stimulate the “turnout” for vaccinations in every possible way. The most popular method is organizing a lottery. So, cash prizes among the vaccinated are raffled off by Poland (prize - 273 thousand dollars), American states (for example, the governor of New York offers 5 million dollars) and several Russian cities. In addition, attention is drawn to the collaboration of the US government with services Lyft and Uber, which will deliver customers to vaccination points for free until July 4. The growing immunization against COVID-19 brings with it issues of vaccination registration and documentation. Introducing vaccination passports has not yet received worldwide approval and raised legitimate concerns about potential acts of segregation and discrimination. Suffice it to cite as an example the situation that our citizens have already faced. In Straseni, more than ten people were denied access to the district hospital on the grounds of lack of vaccination. “I came to get a certificate for the driving school, a psychiatric report, and I was denied accessing the clinic because I did not have the COVID-19 vaccine. The refusal came from the deputy head of the hospital. He gathered us all in the office of the polyclinic and explained that since we do not have a vaccine, he cannot sign documents allowing us access to a psychiatrist's consultation,” one of the citizens says. At the same time, vaccination certificates will obviously still be introduced locally. The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament has already approved a draft decision on such documents for the EU countries. The project has yet to be approved by the plenary meeting of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, but it is expected that the decree on the system of Green Certificates will come into force on July 1. The epidemiological situation in Moldova continues improving. According to experts from the National Agency of Public Health, the incidence of COVID-19 is now the lowest since the beginning of the year. The virus is detected only in 3 out of 100 tested. The NAPH attributes this to the growing pace of vaccination: “We are registering an acceleration. We have 60 thousand doses injected per week, and the rates are still growing. " In total, almost 255 thousand cases of the disease were registered in Moldova (6093 out of them have died). The second vaccination marathon, which started today, will contribute to the formation of herd immunity. It takes place at the Palace of the Republic, and everyone can get any of the vaccines available - Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and CoronaVac. The first marathon was successful and showed good results: there are so many people who want to get vaccinated that it was necessary to attract an additional 100 doctors and, thus, increasing their number to 500. In addition, in Chisinau, vaccinations can be done in a bus and trolleybus specially equipped for mobile vaccination centers, which will stop at certain bus stations in the capital and the suburbs. Best of all, the situation improvement is evidenced when a number of quarantine restrictions got removed. So, in the capital, the mask mode for open public places has been canceled, and the HORECA enterprises, theaters and concert halls, entertainment venues and parks are returning to their normal mode of operation (in accordance with antiCOVID measures, of course).