AK: All elderly in care homes to be coronavirus-vaccinated by end of month

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A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Source: Jassu Hertsmann / Ministry of Social Affairs.

Vaccinating those aged 80 and over is now a priority, in order to reduce the burden on hospitals, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday night, with elderly people in sheltered accommodation due to get both shots by month-end.

Around 40 percent of those hospitalized with the coronavirus are over 80, AK reported, while the arrival of more vaccine supplies, including those from U.K. firm AstraZeneca, will help with both their inoculation and that of front-line workers including the police and first responders.

Coronavirus vaccinations require two doses; while not all those over 80 will be inoculated by the end of this month, those who are nursing home residents will be, Ministry of Social Affairs undersecretary Maris Jesse says.

Jesse told AK that: "By the end of February, all nursing home residents will have been vaccinated with the first dose. The second dose cycle has already started in special care homes, and some family doctor centers can also now start contacting people over the age of 80, for them to receive their second dose."

As of Tuesday, 35,917 people had received at least one coronavirus vaccine in Estonia, with 17,564 of these having had their second dose.

Over 10,000 more Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses have arrived in Estonia this week, with this figure set to rise to 14,000 by month end, AK reported. Vaccines arrived from U.S. firm Moderna number under 5,000 doses at present, though, Maris Jesse said, this product can be kept in cold storage longer than Pfizer's product.

Meanwhile The 7,200 AstraZeneca vaccines which arrived on Sunday are largely earmarked as first doses for front-line workers. 

General education schools have also as of Tuesday received instructions from the Ministry of Education on procedures for vaccinating school staff next week, and, Jesse added, more supplies can reach Estonia's islands for vaccinating at-risk groups there. Teachers will be vaccinated at hospitals, to make the process more centralized than if supplies were doled out to individual schools, Jesse added.

AK reported on one family doctor's which had seen nearly all of the elderly patients on its list inoculated – albeit the result of a pilot project the surgery, the Linnamõisa family medical center in Tallinn's Kristiine district, is carrying out.

Reet Laidoja, head of the Tallinn Society of Family Doctors (Tallinna perearstide selts), told AK that: "There have also been some [vaccination] refusals, but most of the time the people are still very expectant and very cooperative, and this vaccination period has been some very happy days for us."

There are still a lot of family doctors awaiting supplies, however, AK reported.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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