The Government on Tuesday supported the signing of all pre-purchase contracts with vaccine manufacturers in the European Union joint procurement. The state plans to give the vaccine to all Estonian residents for free.
Participation in the EU joint procurements ensures that the vaccines will reach all European Union Member States at the same time and at the same price.
"We are all waiting for a vaccine, in order to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. This is why all parties are engaged in the rapid development of vaccines and bringing these to the market," said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), but added no compromises can be made on quality and safety.
"Of course, we are simultaneously making preparations to be ready to commence vaccinating as soon as the vaccines that have received marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency reach Estonia," he said.
Vaccination will be free of charge to all Estonian residents in 2021. From 2022, it will be free of charge to at-risk groups. To procure the vaccines and the equipment necessary for vaccination, it is intended to apply for money from European Union funds, from the ReactEU Fund that is intended to combat the coronavirus crisis.
As the first priority, it is intended to enable vaccination for healthcare and welfare institution workers, welfare institution residents, the elderly, and people with certain intercurrent and chronic illnesses. About 300,000 people belong to the coronavirus at-risk groups in Estonia.
The joint vaccine portfolio covered by the European Commission procurements has selected vaccine candidates that are the most promising and that are based on different already-existing and novel technologies: Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, Jannsen Pharmaceutica NV, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac, Moderna, and Novavax.
Currently, no vaccine has obtained marketing authorisation in the European Union. Right now, the effectiveness of the vaccines are not definitively known – for example, for how long one vaccine or another may grant immunity, or for which age groups they are best suited.
The main aim of procuring the COVID-19 vaccine and enabling Estonian residents to vaccinate is to protect the most vulnerable groups of people; to ensure the normal operation of society; to reduce and prevent deaths caused by COVID-19 and to provide an opportunity for vaccination to those Estonian residents who do not belong to the vaccination target group, but who wish to vaccinate against the coronavirus.
Editor: Helen Wright