The second consignment of 9,750 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the Health Board on Monday. There are now plans to speed up the distribution of vaccines to health care workers across the country.
Estonia has ordered over 600,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which will be enough for over 300,000 people and it will receive weekly batches. Negotiations for acquiring additional doses are underway at the European Union level.
The first batch of 9,750 doses of the vaccine arrived on December 26 and as of today 2,535 people at 48 health care institutions have received a dose. The largest number of jabs, 699, has been administered at Tallinn's North Estonia Medical Center. In recent days the government has come under criticism for the pace of the vaccination rollout.
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said: "With the first consignment, our aim was to make the first amount of vaccines available to family doctors, nurses and hospitals as quickly as possible. Vaccines were distributed to hospitals proportionately with their number of workers. Starting from this week, we can enable for all hospitals to order vaccines to meet their needs in accordance with their capacity to administer them immediately. We're also planning to expand the option of getting inoculated to include hospitals' nursing care departments and the first set of care homes."
"This means that the number of people getting the vaccine will soon grow significantly," he added.
Head of the Family Physicians Association of Estonia Le Vallikivi said: "Everything is going as planned in family medical centers, and we're ready to start vaccinating patients in at-risk groups as soon as our vaccine supplies enable doing so. All prerequisites have been created at our centers for providing both consultation and safe vaccination for people."
Those who have been given priority status to receive the vaccine are healthcare professionals and employees of healthcare institutions, care home staff and residents, and people over the age of 70 and with underlying conditions who may suffer from COVID-19 more severely due to their health.
As soon as a sufficient amount of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Estonia, vaccination will be made available to other target groups and the entire population as well.
Estonia has so far joined five purchase pre-agreements as part of the EU joint procurement for obtaining COVID-19 vaccines with vaccine developers Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and CureVac. The number of doses ordered for Estonia under said five agreements totals 3,177,726.
Editor: Helen Wright