Estonia is not expecting to get Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccination in the near future and people who need the vaccine should trust health care professionals in Estonia, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik said on Tuesday.
Last week, it was reported some members of hospital staff in Estonia are hesitant to get the Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines but have requested Russia's vaccine instead.
"It is not worth creating the false illusion that vaccines outside the European Union's joint procurement will be authorized quickly. Now, it is reasonable to think that if a family doctor offers you a vaccine, it will be effective," he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Kiik said Estonia trusts the Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines which have been authorized by the European Union and positively assessed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
"Unlike them, Sputnik has not yet submitted an application to the EMA," Kiik said.
Kiik said that in Europe, medicines are not easily authorized and all vaccines must be scientifically tested. Russia's vaccine has not yet passed all the required trials, although some countries, such as Hungary, have authorized it for use.
He said the vaccines Estonia currently uses protect against the serious form of the illness. "All three are very effective in preventing serious illness and death. There is no point in having a preference for any other," Kiik said.
"I call for there to trust in healthcare professionals and experts," Kiik said, adding that this also applies to Russian-speaking people who allegedly prefer the Sputnik vaccine.
Lithuania has already ruled out using Russia's vaccine even if it is approved by the EMA in the future.
Vaccination has cut the infection rate among hospital workers
Deputy Director General of the Health Board Mari-Anne Härma said at the press conference there has been a drop in recorded infections among healthcare workers who have received the vaccine.
Previously, 130 doctors a week were testing positive for coronavirus, but last week the number was 50.
"However, we do not see a downward trend among caregivers," said Härma. "It is an encouraging message - vaccination can be beneficial - it's definitely worth going for a vaccination," she said.
Caregivers have been less likely to get vaccinated.
Editor: Helen Wright