3. Providing health services effectively
The section on PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES EFFECTIVELY describes approaches for service delivery planning and patient pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases. It also considers efforts by countries to maintain other essential services during periods of excessive demand for health services.
3.1 Planning services
Update 15 February:
Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were made available on 27 December 2020. An additional few thousand doses of Moderna vaccine were also delivered and applied.
In total, by Sunday, 7 February 2021, 2.6% of the population was vaccinated with one shot and 2.1% with two shots. Slovenia did not opt for an increased interval between the doses to facilitate faster access to the first shots.
The previous government campaign through the e-government portal has not been fully operationalised, but will now see its proper implementation with linkages to the primary health and public health systems to facilitate booking of appointments for vaccination.
Update 30 December:
Slovenia secured vaccines for its population from the joint EU procurement. Consequently, the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be provided by 27 December 2020 and vaccination of residents and employees will be launched first.
The Government decided to launch a campaign through the e-government website to express interest in vaccination. A form can be submitted, signed electronically, which should serve as an indication of interest in the vaccination and include the persons expressing interest in the queues for broader (non-prioritised) vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccination strategy (updated 09 December)
As of January 2021, Slovenia will begin to introduce the COVID-19 vaccination, with the Government preparing a timeline and identifying priority populations for receiving the vaccination. The first vaccine doses (n.b. Pfizer) will arrive to Slovenia early January 2021 as a part of the EU purchase.
- first-line priority will be with the residents of nursing homes, carers in those homes, health professionals as well as those working in education.
- second-line priority will include those working in critical infrastructure, such as police, firemen, etc.
It is expected that, in the first two waves of vaccination, 480,000 people would be vaccinated. This is approximately 25% of the total population.
To mitigate shortages, the Ministry of Health declared that:
• All non-essential outpatient medical check-ups and planned surgery were suspended
• Increasing distribution of oxygen supplies
• Continue to distribute the national stockpile of PPE, which was stockpiled for Pandemic Influenza and purchase additional supplies
• Chronic patients were advised to stay in touch with their GPs in case of need (e.g. medication supply) or if their condition worsened (either related to COVID-19 or due to their underlying condition)
• Provision of remote consultations for vulnerable groups who have been advised against attending outpatient hospital appointments
• Testing in Slovenia is available in several locations – the Institute of Microbiology of the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana as well as the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food with its locations in Maribor, Ljubljana, Koper, Novo mesto and Kranj, enabling good access and availability for all the 16 entry points. Labs have been stockpiling material since the early stages and could also meet the increasing demand when the rise in the number of new cases occurred.