„We appeal to all our citizens to use the opportunities afforded by the well-organized vaccination system as soon as possible and get vaccinated. Those who have been revaccinated – should now receive a third dose, and those who have not should get vaccinated as soon as possible so that we can reach collective immunity, which is our only way to rescue ourselves out of the new situation,“ said the director of North Mitrovica Hospital Center, Zlatan Elek.
Currently, there are 26 COVID-19-positive patients in the wards of the North Mitrovica hospital, which is a significantly higher number compared to earlier this summer when there were no more than three infectious cases.
The situation has been deteriorating for the past 10 days, and the North Mitrovica Hospital Center is returning to operating under the previous COVID system. This means that part of the hospital capacity has already being turned into a COVID hospital with about 180 beds – as was the case during the previous four waves of COVID-19 infections.
„We are fully prepared to meet this fifth wave, in terms of medicines, protective equipment, staff, accommodation, so there is no fear on that issue,“ Zlatan Elek, the director of the Hospital Center, told KoSSev.
Almost 90% of patients currently receiving treatment for COVID-19 in the North Mitrovica hospital are unvaccinated.
„Unfortunately, these include older people who did not listen to the advice of the doctors and who have become infected in this wave, and as you know, in the past, the disease in these types of patients has ended fatally very often,“ Elek warns.
Elek urged the citizens to get vaccinated, emphasizing that vaccination is the key and something that has been missing in the chain of protection against coronavirus.
„I appeal to the citizens to get vaccinated to mitigate the effects of this fifth wave because we are running late with the vaccination. It is noticeable that we did not take advantage of the period from June until now to get vaccinated and to listen to the appeals of our state, the crisis team, and the relevant ministry, as well as the Kosovo Office.“
He explained that it is paradoxical how some citizens are preparing to get their third, so-called booster dose of the vaccine, while at the same time a significant number of citizens have yet to receive a first dose.
Such citizens not only endanger their health but also pose a risk to their environment, he warns.
„That is why people who have been vaccinated are also in danger, because of a huge number of those who have not been vaccinated,“ added Elek.
Approximately 24,000 citizens in the north have been vaccinated and revaccinated. They are now set to receive instructions for the third dose via SMS.
The vaccination system is excellently organized and runs smoothly, Elek emphasized.
„Citizens can still have their pick out of all four vaccines. Making an appointment is not required, the road to Raska is open to us. We have a well-organized vaccination system, starting with health centers in four municipalities. The Kosovo Office also helped by providing us with transportation. There is a doctor and a nurse on each bus, which take the citizens to get vaccinated. There are no delays or waiting periods.“
„I received the first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and now I will receive the third dose from the same manufacturer. As for other citizens and their doubts about which vaccine they should get as the third dose, my advice to them is to listen to their health advisers who are more informed than me. But, in any case, based on what we hear from Mr. Sekler and the Crisis team, there will be no mistakes if it is combined with other vaccines. Sputnik is the exception, as it is recommended that the same vaccine is administered.“
Elek recalled the huge support the North Mitrovica Hospital Center received from the Serbian government and the ministry, primarily by employing 120 nurses and 45 doctors, while new employment opportunities are expected by the end of the year.
This made it possible for health workers to take a breather this summer, Elek says.
Other wards of the hospital were particularly busy this summer, where patients with post-COVID symptoms were treated and are still being treated. Dr. Elek says that these conditions as particularly worrying and dangerous for the health of citizens, noting that they put pressure on the health system as well.
„We are very worried about the condition of the patients who had COVID-19. In June, July and August, our hospital was filled with patients with post-COVID symptoms. The internists, pneumo physiologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists were faced with this. So we need to ask ourselves if we need to be more afraid of the disease or vaccines. My fear of the disease is much greater than my fear of the vaccine because so far we have not had a single case of a vaccinated person dying from COVID-19. Someone might get sick, but his or her symptoms are much milder than in a person who has not been vaccinated,“ Elek warned.
Elek also sent a message to those who still deny the existence of coronavirus:
„Anyone who followed this situation at all could understand that coronavirus exists. The patients who were hospitalized here, who were treated and cured speak of this fact, and unfortunately we have a number of patients who have passed away.“
Elek emphasized that predictions were made at the very beginning of the summer that the situation would worsen at the end of August due to mass vacations and people not respecting preventive measures, as well as due to the insufficient number of vaccinated people, especially in the population aged 18 to 30.
Finally, he warned that the situation may worsen in September, once school starts.
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