Physicians Association: No idea where this year's flu vaccine has gone

Le Vallikivi.
Le Vallikivi. Source: ERR

Even as more than 150,000 doses of influenza vaccines were ordered in Estonia for fall of 2020, family physicians have found it difficult to get their hands on the vaccine. Le Vallikivi, head of the Family Physicians Association, said she has no idea where all the vaccines have gone.

153,000 doses of the influenza vaccine were ordered for fall in Estonia. Vallikivi said family physicians put the dates of receiving vaccines on a timeline.

Vallikivi said on ETV's "Ringvaade" on Thursday: "We created a small timeline. The initial 37,000 doses came in the end of August, we could not even order any for ourselves then. Then news came out on September 17 that they have arrived in Estonia and can be ordered, but we were then told that they can not still be ordered, but new doses of it will arrive on September 24."

She continued: "Then, on October 1, a discussion popped up in the family physicians' list, people were desperately ordering vaccines from pharmacies, as they have usually been able to do, but now centers who wanted 1,000 vaccines now only received 50. Where are they? What happened to them? We have no idea."

The Family Physicians Association head said it is still unclear where the 150,000 vaccines are. "We have asked the Agency of Medicines (Ravimiamet), Health Board (Terviseamet), Ministry of Social Affairs, wholesalers, pharmacies and companies. We were told that all arrived, were distributed and ended up where they had to. We did not receive them. We would really like to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases, considering risk groups. But we have none to use," Vallikivi said.

She does not believe that more than 150,000 doses have already been used. "Estonia has been the anti-vaccine country of all time when it comes to the flu. If we take a look at numbers and see that we normally vaccinate 1-3 percent of the population, 150,000 doses would have made 13 percent. But we are not seeing the happy faces," Vallikivi said.

She added that 2019's stock of vaccines ran out in January 2020 and she sees no supplemental vaccines being ordered this year. "Then (in 2019-2020 - ed.) we could not vaccinate, we could not order. This year, that will not happen in January but rather in October, which is unnormal."

Vallikivi said a similar situation around a potential coronavirus vaccine could create large problems. She did confirm that the coronavirus pandemic brought more people to flu vaccines.

"Nobody wants to get two plagues at once," she said.

The head of the Family Physicians Association concluded by saying institutions have told them that preparations for next year must be conducted better and vaccines must be trackable, to make sure they will not end up lost.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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