The largest COVID-19 vaccination centre in the Czech Republic was put through its paces on Friday, but it will not be fully operational until May as the country badly hit by the pandemic waits for more vaccine shots.
“The vaccination centre at Prague’s O2 Arena complex will start in full at the beginning of May because at the moment there are not enough vaccines for it to go at full capacity,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said during an inspection on Friday.
The centre is to be a key component in ramping up inoculations. But it faces a three-week delay until May 3 before starting with a capacity of 7,000 people a day.
The government has come under criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including its failure to order as many vaccines as it could under the EU’s program.
Following a spat in Brussels over the distribution of extra vaccines among member states, the Czechs are now projected to lag behind all other EU countries by mid-year.
Deaths from the disease have hit 27,617, more than doubling in 2021 alone. On Thursday, 5,245 new cases were reported, the lowest weekday tally since mid-December. In total, 1.57 million infections have been reported since March 2020.