Last update 13.01.2021
Voluntary vaccination against COVID-19 is a safe way to protect yourself from symptomatic viral disease. Therefore, it is the only real step towards the possibility of returning to the life that existed before the pandemic.
How does the vaccine work?
Vaccines contain substances, or agents, that stimulate the body’s immunity. There are different types of vaccines. Some vaccines contain weakened or killed versions of certain viruses, bacteria, or their parts. Other vaccines contain a messenger (meaning that it merely holds information about the virus and is not the virus itself, so it cannot cause the disease or make it worse if you already have it). When a person is given the vaccine, the body’s immune system makes antibodies. When a person is exposed to a real infectious virus or bacterium, their immune system remembers it. It activates specific antibodies that have already been made, kills the virus or bacteria, and does not make you sick.
When will vaccination against Covid-19 start in Latvia?
Latvian people can choose to return to normal life without security measures. Vaccination provides this opportunity.
On 28 December 2020, the vaccination of healthcare workers was started in the 10 largest hospitals of the country and the process is considered successful so far.
Vaccination against Covid-19 will be voluntary, including for healthcare professionals. Taking into account the gradual entry of vaccines into the market, the most vulnerable groups within Latvian society will be vaccinated first.
The aim is to ensure the ongoing operation of the health care system, as well as to reduce the burden of mortality and morbidity on the health care system.
The first vaccines will be given to healthcare workers working with Covid-19 patients in hospitals and to the Emergency Medical Service. Afterwards, vaccines will be provided to the following groups in this order:
- Other health care workers;
- Employees and clients of social care centres;
- People with chronic diseases;
- People over the age of 60;
- People working in operational services;
- Employees of medical institutions;
- People in places of imprisonment;
- All other residents of Latvia. It is planned that all other residents of Latvia will be able to be vaccinated starting from the second quarter of 2021.
The schedule of vaccination depends on when the registration process of vaccines will be completed and when the vaccines purchased in Latvia will be delivered.
How is a vaccine developed and registered?
In order to be used in the European Union, a vaccine must meet the same standards of proof of safety, quality, and effectiveness as any other medicine. No exceptions from these essential requirements are made. More than 200 Covid-19 vaccines are currently being developed worldwide, but some are already close to the final stage.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first to complete this registration process. On 6 January, based on the scientific opinion of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Commission granted a marketing authorisation for the vaccine developed by Moderna, which has now been approved for use in all EU Member States. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also received an application for conditional marketing authorisation of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
The process of developing and registering these vaccines is faster than for other vaccines, due to the investment and pooling of unprecedented scientific, financial, and human resources, as well as a radical change in the efficiency of cooperation between vaccine registration authorities and vaccine developers.