Drivers get jabs in first Czech drive-in vaccination centre

·2-min read

Sitting in limos or clunkers, drivers and passengers alike stick their arms out of car windows for a Covid-19 jab in the Czech Republic's first drive-in vaccination centre.

Built in a new car park next to a private hospital in the western city of Plzen (Pilsen), the centre comprising two cabins and several tents has given about 1,400 jabs since it kicked off on Monday.

"We can now give 200-300 jabs a day, but the number will increase next week and the total capacity is up to 1,200 jabs a day," Eva Milerova, a spokeswoman for the Privamed hospital, told AFP on Friday.

She said people were getting jabs outside in order not to mingle with other hospital patients, and that the facility served both drivers and pedestrians.

An EU member of 10.7 million people, the Czech Republic has struggled to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination drive, with only about 1.2 million Czechs fully vaccinated by now.

This makes it the EU's sixth worst performer, according to official data.

But the Pilsen patients were happy with what they were getting.

Vaclav Korec, driving a weathered silver Citroen Picasso with a disabled sign, said the drive-in was "more comfortable, especially for people like me who have walking difficulties".

Resting in the driver's seat after the vaccination, Marketa Erben said the centre was registering patients faster than other venues.

"I'm an oncological patient and I couldn't find another place where I could get vaccinated at once," she added.

The Czech Republic, which topped global statistics for deaths and cases per capita for several months this year, has registered almost 30,000 deaths from more than 1.65 million confirmed Covid-19 cases.

But the government has recently eased restrictions, opening schools, shops or beer gardens as the daily contagion pace has slumped to under 1,000 cases.