Maris Jesse, undersecretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said regular people will be able to vaccinate themselves against the coronavirus throughout spring but only after frontline workers and risk groups have received their vaccinations first.
Jesse explained on Thursday's daily affairs show "Ringvaade" that the vaccinations will be opened to health care workers first, as they take care of those that have been infected. The next batch of vaccies will go to care home residents and people with chronic illnesses, who need protection from the coronavirus.
The remaining people can be vaccinated last. "I would dare say currently that not before March, but during spring," she said. Jesse added that it all depends on when and in which amounts vaccines will arrive in Estonia.
The social ministry undersecretary added that health care workers have to be vaccinated first because it will improve hospitals' capacity to admit sick people, ruling out any further restrictions.
"The decisions the government made today (Thursday - ed.) happened because the capacity for hospitals will be reached in a couple of weeks and going forward, we will have to establish larger restrictions to other treatments in hospitals. We do not want to do that," Jesse noted.
While some nations are set to begin vaccinations next week, it will still take some time for European Union nations.
"The European Union has made a decision to not use vaccines that do not have a sales permit with documentation worked out by a group of independent experts. We will not use a vaccine that does not have an patient information leaflet or a leaflet for the vaccinating professional," Jesse justified.
"No European Union state can yet say which vaccines will have exemptions. For example, which vaccines can be used for a breasttfeeding mother, which vaccines for pregnant women," she added.
She noted that the vaccine to be put in use in Great Britain next week does not have a sales permit yet.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste