On Tuesday, the capital starts distributing iodine tablets: residents of Vilnius will be able to pick them up at pharmacies free of charge

Effective Tuesday, the 20th of October, Vilnius residents will be able to receive potassium iodide tablets for protecting from harmful effects of radioactive iodine in case of a possible radiation disaster for free in Eurovaistinė, Camelia, Gintarinė Vaistinė, Norfos Vaistinė and Benu pharmacy chains. Tablets will be distributed to all residents who have declared their place of residence in Vilnius and presented an identity document.

Potassium iodide tablets will be distributed to residents as a preventive measure due to the upcoming launch of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Belarus. They are intended for protecting the thyroid gland from harmful effects of radioactive iodine.

“We are glad that we worked out a solution with the Ministry to smoothly distribute potassium iodide tablets to residents of the city. We will distribute the product through pharmacies who joined in good faith. Although the risk of an accident is very low and we hope that using these tablets will not be necessary, we need to ensure that residents of the city are prepared,” says Povilas Poderskis, Director of the Vilnius City Administration.

Distributed in main pharmacy chains

Please note that e-prescriptions will be issued by the Public Institution Centro Poliklinika – this particular health care facility has been lawfully obligated to issue the prescriptions in a centralized manner. Centro Poliklinika is almost done issuing prescriptions for all the residents who have declared their place of residence in Vilnius to receive potassium iodide tablets for free.

Residents will be able to pick up the tablets at the major pharmacy chains, including Camelia, Eurovaistinė, Gintarinė Vaistinė, Norfos Vaistinė and Benu, having presented their identity document. Together with potassium iodide tablets, residents will also receive instructions for use in Lithuanian, Russian, Polish and English.

We want to draw the attention of residents to the fact that electronic prescriptions for potassium iodide preparations will be issued automatically, thus they do not need to refer to medical institutions for that. All they need to do is to go to any of the pharmacies and to present their identity document. Electronic prescriptions will be valid for 30 days, i.e. till the 17th of November.

Please note that potassium iodide tablets should be taken in case of a nuclear accident in the neighbouring country only, and only if competent state authorities so recommend.

Declaring a place of residence in Vilnius will be necessary  

Persons, who live in Vilnius but have not declared their place of residence in the capital, will not be able to receive tablets free of charge. Those, who cannot do that for some reason, will simply be able to buy potassium iodide tablets at pharmacies.

If, for objective reasons (such as disability), a patient is unable to go to a pharmacy himself, a patient’s representative can pick up potassium iodide tablets prescribed to him, having presented the identity document of the represented person at a pharmacy.

What to do in case of an accident

The City of Vilnius reminds that the nuclear power plant that will be launched in Belarus is 45 km away from Vilnius. The capital of Lithuania falls within a 100 km radius zone, whose residents will likely be recommended to take potassium iodide tablets in the event of an accident at the nuclear power plant. In case of an accident at the Belarusian nuclear power plant, when radioactive materials are released to the environment, the Lithuanian authorities would inform residents thereof immediately.

Vilnius residents would be warned about an accident in three ways: by audio sirens, short warning messages sent to mobile phones and via radio, television and other media. In case of such an emergency, staying inside and waiting for notifications from public authorities on what actions and measures to take to reduce the risk is recommended.

At this stage, residents would also be informed about the need to take potassium iodide tablets.

In case of a nuclear accident, residents would be evacuated within a radius of 30 km from the reactor. Since Vilnius is more than 30 km away from the Belarusian NPP (45 km), in case of an emergency, residents should first stay at home, refrain from going outside, follow information on radio and television and wait for further instructions: to take tablets, wear respiratory protection, evacuate, etc.

For more information on the procedure for picking up potassium iodide tablets, their use and recommendations on what to do in case of a radiological emergency, see FAQ on the website jodas.vilnius.lt, and on www.lt72.lt.