Paper: Pharmacies hoarding flu vaccines, will not sell to family doctors

Patient receiving a flu vaccine (photo is illustrative).
Patient receiving a flu vaccine (photo is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

After flu vaccines were made widely available in pharmacies on Monday, family doctors have claimed they have not been able to get their hands on vaccines, as pharmacies have been holding on to them, daily newspaper Õhtuleht writes.

Vaccines generally sell for around €10.50 a throw in pharmacies, and as family physicians ask for an additional service fee, getting vaccinated at a doctor's surgery costs the patient around €14-15 in total. Some pharmacies, however, have been charging €18.50-19.00, Õhtuleht reported (link in Estonian).

Ülle Rebane, head of the the Estonian Association of Pharmacists (EAL), said this was more a question of demand and supply.

"That's just how it is, pharmacies do not receive enough vaccine supplies. This is especially felt this year. Wholesale warehouses have accounted for a certain amount of vaccines for vaccinations for pharmacies, but the available vaccines will only reach certain outlets."

Dr. Karmen Joller, board member at the Estonian Family Physicians Association (Eesti perearstide liit), told the paper around half-a-dozen doctors have complained about not being able to get their hands on vaccines.

Vaccines reached two wholesalers: Tamro Eesti and Magnum Medical.

Magnum's strategic head of communications Karina Loi said talks of pharmacies holding on to vaccines were untrue.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Andrew Whyte

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