The non-profit organization Podané ruce was one of the first companies in the Czech Republic to participate in vaccinations and help advance vaccination as it was slowly progressing in the Czech Republic. However, the South Moravia region, where she is based, only released her in August. Since then, he has been engaged in vaccination in the countryside, where he visits interested people, but he also runs high-capacity vaccination centers in Brno. In an interview with the daily Echo24, the director of the organization, Jindřich Vobořil (ODS), describes how vaccination works in more remote areas and also how the work with drug addicts, on which Helping Hands has long focused, changed during the pandemic.
You conducted a study showing that one month after the third dose of coronavirus vaccination, people are sufficiently protected and have antibodies, compared to only 49.5% of people before the booster dose. Can you estimate how long people vaccinated with the third dose will retain the antibodies before having to switch to the fourth dose?
Of course, we will continue to monitor people in the study. We have an assumption that it will be something similar to the second dose, that it will go down again after four to six months. We will have the information in February, after three months.
In the company Podané ruce you are engaged in vaccinations in addition to other activities. How many doses do you take each day?
Now we’re doing about a thousand doses a day, now it’ll probably be a bit up to 1500. We did a follow-up study to the original, where we looked at 650 people over the age of 60, where it turned out turned out that already five months after vaccination, the second dose had no antibodies in half of the elderly, so it probably seems appropriate to time it well for the season, as with the flu. That would make sense to me, so I’m not a virologist or an epidemiologist, but I’ve been in epidemiology for a long time because it’s our daily bread, I’m a nurse originally, I first worked for seniors for five years and I’ve seen what he does every year during flu season, so I think like the flu, you should always be able to get vaccinated before that season, ie during a summer. This is how I would prepare it so that the vaccination always takes place during the summer.
In addition to operating vaccination centers in Brno, you also lead mobile vaccination teams that travel to the countryside. How many do you have?
We have them quite variable. Currently, we have approximately 700 healthcare professional employees in the database, as well as non-medical staff. But most of them are paramedics. Whether doctors, nurses, nurses. It’s not just about whether we have enough teams, but whether we have enough people to produce the trip. We now have about two to three mobile trips a day. If we focused less on the large vaccination halls, which are the Janáček Theater and Freedom Square, we would be able to build more field teams.
Will insurance company payments for vaccinations at least cover the costs?
We had to put a lot of money into it at first, because the region (Jihomoravský – editor’s note) then decided not to allow non-governments to be vaccinated. We had a ten million investment there until August, when we vaccinated mainly immobile patients in August. And it was still two million crowns. Immobile patients do not return, there is simply a load. The insurance company will give you 267 crowns per patient, and three people will come to see him, in addition to Znojmo. They are going to get vaccinated, they have to stand for a quarter of an hour and then they go somewhere two villages apart, so immobile patients is a purely charity event from us, where we raise funds differently from some of our own income or from the collection. Otherwise, it’s up to us now, and I think that by the end of January, we will have to be at zero.
People threw rocks at your vaccination teams in the fall. How often do you encounter such expressions of hate?
These people mainly unite us as the creators of these restrictions, which is such a vulgar policy of several political groups who have decided to focus the discourse on health professionals, just as we health workers do certain limitations. Even my old friends write me lousy text messages that I create measures here, but I say no, we have paramedics here, with whom we try to help. For example, I believe in these vaccines, otherwise I would not offer them. The fact that the medical staff is limited is absolute demagoguery. For example, someone drew a truck in which we vaccinated, something else. Several times a month is a physically unpleasant thing, someone comes to scold you or writes you e-mails. The moment you ask me something and it runs out on some internet media there will be a discussion where someone swears to us that we are guilty of believing in vaccines and we are also guilty of the constraints that governments invent to across Europe. .
How is the situation in the countryside, for example, when he comes to get vaccinated somewhere where people are reluctant to get vaccinated? How do you persuade them?
When we looked at the studies, people in the countryside who weren’t vaccinated were often not fully vaccinated, not because they didn’t believe. People who don’t believe it often have at least a high school diploma, but then they read something on the internet and such and now they’re confused because one teacher says something else and another teacher says something else. Then he thinks about it – a clinical study – the first phase, the second phase. Often it’s not just country people, there are a lot of educated people in the country. In the countryside, people are often not vaccinated because a stupid strategy was chosen and the South Moravian region was not the best in this area, Vysočina or Pardubice did better, where in addition to large Vaccination centers have not opened mobile vaccination possibilities for people, especially in the region of South Moravia, which is very large. , they just had it away.
I really care about the name Helping Hands. Before we do anything, we do an international search. We have a man who has cost me tens, maybe hundreds of thousands, and is researching internationally to see who he’s dealing with and what studies from the United States to China say about the third dose, omicron, and only then do we decide that we will be involved. A person who does not have access like us and reads the news on the Internet, where a person who acts reasonably gets up, is a teacher who can talk to students, so he can compose a sentence, it is very difficult for people .
For a long time you mainly dealt with drug addicts. Have you reduced your activities in this direction because of the pandemic, or are you continuing as you did before the pandemic?
Not only are we advancing as before the pandemic, but we have also had to expand this offer, because each crisis that we know by the statistics leads to an increase in the development of addictions. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling or illegal drugs. More people drank during the pandemic, relaxed after ten years of abstinence, went back to heroin and people started losing money online. So we are doing this medical activity like testing and vaccination with the new staff, it is not overloading our normal standard activities. On the contrary, we are part of the funds that may have come from the tests, because we as a non-profit organization have a duty to give everything back, we could use them to provide something that the state does not subsidize .
Jindrich Voboril (55) is a director of Podané ruce, a drug specialist. In 2010-2018 he worked as the national anti-drug coordinator, but after eight years he left this position after disagreements with the then Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO). During the coronavirus pandemic, Vobořil and the organization Helping Hands became involved in vaccination against covid-19 as well as testing for the disease.