Over 10,000 people have received COVID-19 first vaccines ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

First COVID-19 vaccinations in Tallinn (photo is illustrative).
First COVID-19 vaccinations in Tallinn (photo is illustrative). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Over 10,000 people have received coronavirus vaccinations in Estonia in the two weeks since doses first started arriving in the country.

The vaccinations, which are generally first doses, with a second to follow, have been administered to frontline health-care workers as priority, and, while supplies have so far not been a plentiful as forecast, this process has seen the majority of family doctors already immunized, social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) said.

Kiik said: "Although the first vaccine supplies have been smaller than expected, the vast majority of the staff of family medicine centers, approximately 30 percent of the staff at hospital network development plan hospitals, as well as residents and staff in primary care homes, have now been administered their first dose."

"The inoculation of care home staff and residents, as well as patients in hospital nursing care departments, will be a priority in the coming weeks, as these are people who are at very high risk of needing hospital treatment if they contract the virus. The vaccination of healthcare workers will also continue," Kiik continued, BNS reports.

"Our healthcare system has thoroughly prepared for vaccination, healthcare professionals have undergone the necessary refresher training and have successfully started with this alongside daily treatment. COVID-19 vaccinations have gone smoothly and are gradually expanding to healthcare institutions across Estonia," the minister added.

All family medicine center staff now vaccinated

Vaccines, so far formulated by Pfizer/BioNTech, have been administered at 100 healthcare facilities nationwide, including 71 family medicine institutions, 21 hospitals and two ambulance services, with 2,225 people being vaccinated on Friday.

The total number of people vaccinated as of Saturday morning stood at 10,197.

This means the majority of employees of all Estonian family medicine centers have been vaccinated.

Vaccinations continue through the weekend, and healthcare institutions have already placed 5,345 vaccine orders with the Health Board (Terviseamet) for Monday, to primarily cover the early part of next week, and the next batch of nearly 10,000 doses from Pfizer/BioNTech is due on Monday as well.

1,200 doses of vaccines from U.S. biotech firm Moderna are due to arrive on Wednesday.

Tanel Kiik said the supplies meant the elderly, those with underlying health issues and other at-risk groups, as well as medical professionals, will start before the end of the month.

More detailed information on this is ending updated numbers of vaccine quantities arriving in Estonia, Kiik said, adding that distribution was the authorities' responsibility.

"[At risk] people do not need to approach anyone themselves," Kiik said.

Priority groups, already identified last summer, are:

  •  Healthcare workers, who carry a higher risk of infection due to exposure to COVID-19 patients, twinned with the importance of keeping the healthcare system running.
  • Nursing home and care home residents and staff.
  • Those aged over 70, and those with chronic underlying health issues, who may be at risk of suffering more severe symptoms from COVID-19 than others.
  • Vital service providers such as first responders and other frontline staff;

Vaccination of the rest of the populace is dependent upon ongoing supplies and meeting targets of inoculating the priority groups.

Another likely supplier to Estonia is Astra Zeneca. Estonia's procurement process for coronavirus immunization is part of a pan-EU distribution.

The COVID-19 vaccinations are mainly aimed at the protection of at-risk groups noted above, and at reducing the burden on the healthcare sector, the economy as a whole, and prompting a return to normal societal functioning, ERR reports.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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