Lithuania plans Covid-19 booster shot for whole population

Riga, Sep 1 (EFE).- The Lithuanian government plans to offer Covid-19 booster shots to its entire population, deputy health minister Zivile Simonaityte said Wednesday.

The minister told local media that booster shots would be offered first to the elderly and vulnerable groups, one day after prime minister Ingrida Simonyte had first announced her government’s plans to local radio on Tuesday night.

Simonyte said that getting a booster shot would be entirely voluntary amid divided public opinion on Covid vaccines in general.

The decision to go ahead with booster shots came after a panel advising the government on vaccination and Covid-19 related matters cited studies that showed a decline in antibodies among Lithuanians who were first vaccinated against the virus earlier this year.

Local media reported that according to official statistics, 69.7% of Lithuania’s adult population have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot.

But there is strong opposition in Lithuania to mandatory vaccination and the use of “vaccine passports” to grant greater freedom to meet, gather and attend public events.

In mid-August, the Lithuanian capital Vilnius was rocked by a mass demonstration against mandatory vaccination that ended in a riot.

Large anti-vaccination protests have also taken place in neighboring Latvia, but without serious violence to date.

As of Tuesday, Latvia reported that 40.3 percent of the population was fully vaccinated against the virus.

Speaking to a private television station Wednesday morning, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins blamed the low vaccination rate on a high level of disinformation about vaccines and Covid-19.

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