COVID-19 vaccinations started Wednesday at the six care homes dotted around the island of Saaremaa, but since being vaccinated is voluntary, there are many residents and employees who have declined inoculation.
There are around 3,000 care home residents on the island, with around 100 staff taking care of them.
Saare County, scene of a major outbreak in the initial spring wave of the pandemc, is currently in second-to-last place in terms of the number of people vaccinated. As of Tuesday, 184 medical staff had been vaccinated on the island.
Head of Kuressaare Hospital, Märt Kõlli, said that several staff members don't want to get the new vaccine, however.
"The process is underway. Of the 300 people who come into contact with infected people, 180 have expressed a wish to be vaccinated, which comes to about 60 percent of our medical personnel. We also have to consider the fact that around 20 percent of personnel have been coronavirus positive at some point," Kõlli said.
Of care home residents in general, Deputy-Mayor of Saare County, Marili Niits, said: "It could be said based on primary data that about 80 percent of residents in these care homes are willing to be vaccinated."
Märt Kõlli said that the numbers are still satisfying.
"There is still some risk here, but I also believe that the main task of vaccination is to slow down the spread of viruses, which should be ensured by this 70 percent level of immunization."
As of January 12, a total of 766 people out of more than 33,000 inhabitants have returned a positive coronavirus test on Saaremaa. since the pandemic began.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte