Frontline staff to start receiving COVID-19 vaccine in February

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PPA personnel out on patrol in Tallinn. Source: ERR

Vaccination of frontline workers will start later this month after Estonia capped the age limit of the AstraZeneca vaccine at 70 years old, forcing the government to change its plans.

Under the government's current vaccine plan, vaccinations are a priority for healthcare workers, care home residents and risk groups, starting with the over 80s.

But, yesterday it was agreed by the government to only give the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 70 years old, so, in order not to delay vaccinations, frontline workers will start to be given the vaccine later this month.

This definition includes education, security and social workers, and vital service providers such as energy and telecommunications workers, ETV's "Akuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday.

However, there are still questions about family caregivers who care for sick relatives, part-time or full-time, as they have not included in the vaccination plan as there is no national register of carers.

Education unions believe teachers should be at the front of the queue because more than half of teachers are over 50 and this way contact learning can continue. There are approximately 26,000 teachers in kindergartens, vocational schools and general education in Estonia. 

The speed of vaccination depends on deliveries, and it is expected 40,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 50,000 of the Pfizer/BioNTech and 13,000 Moderna doses will arrive in Estonia in February.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be used to vaccinate risk groups and people over 70.

So far, 31,864 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 14,330 have received both doses. Vaccination started on December 27.

The first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are due to arrive on Sunday.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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