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Journalists’ Crisis Management Team//Media Employees Will Be Vaccinated at the Second Stage of Immunization

05 April 2021
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Media staff will be vaccinated at the second stage of COVID-19 immunization, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Protection (MHLSP). In this regard, each media institution will have to send an application with the list of employees who would like to be vaccinated, according to an official response sent to the Journalists’ Crisis Management Team founded by the Independent Journalism Center. The team, on behalf of 22 newsrooms and media NGOs, previously addressed the authority asking to include frontline media representatives in the category of persons eligible for priority immunization.

The request from the Journalists’ Crisis Management Team was sent to the Ministry of Health after the journalists were not listed among the priority groups eligible for the second stage of vaccination, even though the institution had initially assured that media representatives could be vaccinated against COVID-19 along with the staff of the structures maintaining and ensuring public order, defense, and state security.

“Considering that media representatives work in organized communities but are not required to stay in contact with persons with confirmed or suspected active COVID-19 virus infection, this category of population will be vaccinated at the 2nd stage by primary healthcare service providers, regardless of the type and legal form of organization, pursuant to the procedure stipulated by the Order of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Protection 93/2021 “On Implementing the National Anti-COVID-19 Immunization Plan”, according to the reply signed by Tatiana Zatic, Secretary of State

Therefore, according to the ministry, the newsrooms have to present lists of beneficiaries to the institutions in charge of anti-COVID-19 immunization. “To initiate the immunization procedure, each media organization/institution has to submit an application with the list of its subordinate employees to be vaccinated to the public medical primary healthcare institution such as a District Healthcare Center/Family Healthcare Center/Territorial Medical Association, depending on the location of the organization/institution, in order to schedule a date and time for vaccination against COVID-19, depending on the availability of the vaccine.”

The representative of the sphere of healthcare stated that, on April 1, the vaccination process was initiated for adults over 60 years of age and having concurrent conditions and persons aged 18-60 having concurrent conditions, “for whom contacting COVID-19 is an increased risk of severe forms and death, pursuant to the provisions of the above-mentioned Order.”

“The need and demand for COVID-19 vaccination exceeds its availability globally due to insufficient production and high demand, therefore, three stages of supply of COVID-19 vaccine have been considered,” the official reply mentions.

According to the National Anti-COVID-19 Immunization Plan, the vaccination stages will take place in the following order: Stage 1 of very limited vaccine availability (1-10% of the total population will be vaccinated) for initial distribution; Stage 2, where the supply of the vaccine increases but its availability is still limited (11-20% of the total population of the country will be vaccinated); Stage 3, where the supply of the vaccine reaches moderate availability (21-50% of the total population of the country will be vaccinated); and vaccination of other categories of general population not previously covered.

The Journalists’ Crisis Management Team founded by the Independent Journalism Center for protecting media representatives’ rights and interests during the pandemic crisis, previously addressed the MHLSP demanding to include frontline media representatives and editorial staff in direct contact with them in the category of persons to be vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine at the 2nd stage of immunization.