MINSK, 8 August (BelTA) – The Healthcare Ministry has decided to expand the vaccination coverage and include children ages five years and older into the COVID-19 vaccination program, Belarusian Deputy Healthcare Minister, Chief Sanitary Inspector Aleksandr Tarasenko said, BelTA has learned.
“We have amended our vaccination strategy to cover more age groups. Earlier we vaccinated children ages 12 years and older, however starting from this week we will vaccinate children who are at least five years old. They will be offered China's Vero Cell. The same vaccine is administered to pregnant women. In China this vaccine is used to vaccinate children ages three years and older, we have so far allowed it from the age of five,” said Aleksandr Tarasenko.
The rest of the population gets the shot of Sputnik V or Sputnik Light vaccines depending on their availability in the regions. “The Healthcare Ministry is now focused on revaccination. The initial vaccination coverage is 70%. Some 27% of people who completed their initial vaccination regimen have already got a booster shot. We recommend receiving a booster jab in August-September before the seasonal rise in the disease rate,” the deputy healthcare minister said.
The increase in COVID-19 cases in Belarus is expected in September. According to experts, such a likelihood is rather high. “Taking into account the immune status of the population we expect the new wave to be not as intense as the previous ones. We hope that the infection will proceed mainly in a mild form and patients will not need hospitalization. At the moment, the dominant strain in Belarus, just like in the neighboring countries, is omicron (90%) BA.4 and BA.5 lineages. The other 10% are stealth omicron cases,” Aleksandr Tarasenko informed.