Bratislava, December 21 (TASR) – After some Government officials announced their intention to financially motivate older people aged 60 and over to be vaccinated against COVID-19, first-dose vaccinations in the group have risen sharply, Vice-premier and Finance Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) told a press conference on Tuesday, expressing the increase in interest at 395 percent compared to people aged 50-59, while in the latter group, on the contrary, interest declined.
Matovic therefore considers the financial motivation to be a successful intention. “From the beginning of July to the 47th week, when we announced our intention to motivate pensioners to be vaccinated, five percent more people were vaccinated in absolute numbers from the 60+ category, five percent more than from the 50-59 category,” stated Matovic.
Shortly after the announcement of the intention, the number of the vaccinated people with 1st dose first decreased in both age groups, which the minister attributes to the introduction of country-wide lockdown for all. About a week later, however, the motivation to get the first dose among seniors 60+ returned to the previous level, but in the 50-59 group it continued to decline. Here he speaks of a drastic drop in vaccination rates, up to 80 percent in week 50 compared to week 47, when the Government introduced lockdown. Thus, in week 50, there was up to a 395 percent difference between these age groups in terms of vaccination with the first dose of vaccine. The finance minister sees the functioning of financial motivation also when vaccinating seniors with the third booster shot.
Matovic compared the data with a survey conducted by Focus agency in October. The survey at that time estimated interest in the third booster shot in a maximum of 426,842 people in the 60+ age group. However, current data as of Sunday (December 19) show that this maximum has already been exceeded by 90,086 people. The minister also observes a similar development in vaccinations with the 1st dose; in contrast to the survey, an additional 42,370 people were vaccinated.
For the time being, Matovic estimates the costs at around €270 million.