STA, 11 November – Prime Minister Janez Janša rejected accusations by the opposition about the government’s misconduct during the coronavirus pandemic and said in a parliamentary inquiry on Thursday that its decisions were based on expert opinions.
Opposition lawmakers asked Jansa about several aspects of the government’s work, from the decision to introduce mass rapid testing to the purchase of vaccines and the justification for measures that some lawmakers said were introduced overnight without giving people enough time to prepare.
He said mass rapid testing was introduced on the advice of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the health ministry and the ministry’s expert group for Covid-19.
Asked whether he knew that rapid tests for antigen were unreliable, which is evident from the minutes of meetings of the Covid-19 expert group, Janša answered that it is common knowledge that rapid tests are more unreliable, so all positive tests are twice as unreliable. check. with PCR tests.
Early on, there was a scandal over the supply of rapid tests by Majbert Pharm, whose owners had been linked to Janša’s Democrats (SDS) in the past and bragged on social media about what a “killer deal” they had signed with the state.
Questions have been raised about how their tests were verified, including by a doctor who once worked at the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food and recently came forward with allegations that the procedure did not meet standards.
“It was not me who wrote the criteria, but the competent services,” said Janša, who also denied that he would personally decide to test Majbert Pharm in this particular laboratory.
Janša admitted that there may have been abuse of salaries for the dangers received by employees in the public sector, but said that the heads of institutions are responsible for determining the rewards and are responsible for their actions. According to him, the identified abuses have already been sanctioned.
One opposition MP claimed that Slovenia initially opted for the AstraZeneca vaccine because it was cheaper than the injection produced by Pfizer, but Janša said that was not the whole story.
“Not only because this vaccine is significantly cheaper, but also because at the time it seemed to be the first vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).”
After temporarily taking over as health minister after the resignation of Tomaž Gantar, he learned that the EMA would probably approve the Pfizer vaccine first.
“On the same day, I ordered the ministry to change its strategy and for Slovenia to order all available vaccines, regardless of the price.”
Regarding allegations that the government is taking action overnight, Jansa said they had always consulted with experts, and sometimes decisions were not taken the same week, even when experts suggested they would.
This was Janša’s second testimony before the commission. Chairman Robert Pavšič said he would be called to testify again.