Latvia opens mass injection centers to speed up COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Latvia on Saturday opened mass immunization centers in eight cities and towns in a bid to ramp up vaccinations against COVID-19, health authorities informed.

Apart from the three largest immunization centers in Riga, smaller vaccination hubs also opened in seven cities.

Several people who were interviewed by public radio as they were waiting in line for their first shot against the coronavirus said they had been looking forward to this opportunity, although some admitted being a bit apprehensive ahead of the injection.

According to the Vaccination Bureau’s plan, the mass immunization campaign at the centers will be taking place from Saturday through Monday. The event is being organized during the Easter holidays in hopes of attracting more people.

Overall, the Easter campaign has made around 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine available to people in priority groups for vaccination — the elderly and people with chronic diseases. The vaccination centers in the capital Riga are expected to use up more than 50 percent of that amount.

As of Saturday, Latvia has administered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 118,979 people, or 6.28 percent of the population, while 24,821 people, or 1.31 percent of the population, have received both shots.

As of March 28, Latvia’s rate of first dose uptake was the second lowest in the European Union, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s weekly COVID-19 vaccine rollout review.