National COVID-19 vaccination plan aims to start vaccinations in January

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Vaccine (photo is illustrative). Source: NIAID/Flickr/Creative Commons

Estonia's national COVID-19 vaccination plan states that depending on the amounts of vaccine arriving in Estonia, the aim is to start the vaccination of risk groups in January 2021 and to achieve a situation in the second quarter of the year where everyone who wishes has the possibility to get a vaccination.

According to the government's vaccination plan, vaccinations can be provided in the first quarter of 2021 to workers of healthcare institutions and workers and residents of care institutions, as well as the offering of vaccination started for people over 70 years of age and people with certain diagnoses. 

The aforementioned diagnoses include diabetes, obesity, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe asthma and asthmatic condition, cystic fibrosis, oncology patients, cardiology patients, renal insufficiency, demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, patients with bone marrow and organ transplants, immunodeficiency, and haematological, rheumatological, gastroenterological, neurological patients who have received immunosuppressive therapy in the last five years.

Family physicians also hold the right to vaccinate people even if they do not have any conditions listed above.

Vaccinations in Estonia will be voluntary and the goal is to protect the most vulnerable people in Estonia, i.e. the risk groups who are more likely to be infected than others or for whom the disease may be particularly dangerous.

The social ministry has stated that the aim of vaccinations is to ensure that at least half of the Estonian population has the opportunity to be vaccinated. In accordance with the government's plan, vaccination would be free of charge for all Estonians until the end of 2021. From 2022, it would be free for at-risk groups.

The same functioning solutions that have been used in the vaccination of residents in Estonia to date will be used in vaccination against COVID-19. Most healthcare service providers that employ healthcare workers authorized to perform immunization will vaccinate their personnel themselves, it stands in the national vaccination plan.

"We are all waiting for the COVID-19 vaccines in order for us to be able to put a stop to the spread of the virus with vaccination and return to normal life. State institutions and the healthcare and social system -- hospitals, care homes and family health centers -- are making preparations to start with vaccination as soon as the vaccines arrive in Estonia," Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said.

The general organisation of vaccination in Estonia is developed by the vaccination steering group in cooperation with the state expert committee on immunoprophylaxis.

The vaccination of children will start when a vaccine suitable for children becomes available.

The Ministry of Social Affairs will present the vaccination plan at a press conference on Tuesday at 2.15 p.m. For more info on the vaccine, visit vaktsineeri.ee.

The COVID-19 vaccine of Pfizer and BioNTech is expected to be the first to get a European Union marketing authorization, probably before the end of the year, and the vaccine of Moderna to be the second, being estimated to receive a marketing authorization in mid-January. 

Estonia joined the EU pre-emption agreement with AstraZeneca in August. Upon completion of the vaccine, the manufacturer must provide Estonia with 1,330,000 doses for the vaccination of 665,000 people.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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