The vaccination process of education employees will start across Estonia on Monday and 14,000 workers have registered for the coronavirus vaccine so far.
The vaccination process will be conducted by local hospitals or family physician centers, as they have access to the necessary data registries and can also directly register the person after they have been vaccinated. In more densely populated areas, such as Tallinn, vaccinating will also be done in schools.
Kärt Sõber, adviser of the Ministry of Social Affairs' public health department, told Vikerraadio's morning show "Vikerhommik" that the ministry has forwarded some 14,000-15,000 vaccine applicants to healthcare establishments. Apart from teachers, the lists also include different educational establishment workers, such as janitors and canteen workers.
There are some 22,000 people working in general education schools, meaning basic and upper secondary schools.
"Since it is the recommendation of the expert immunoprophylaxis committee to use the AstraZeneca vaccine for those aged below 70, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those above that age, we will certainly take that into consideration," Sõber said.
Sõber also emphasized that the people that have not registered for the vaccine right away can not be considered as outright refusers, but instead people who wish to receive more information. School nurses play an important role in the advising process, who according to Sõber, have been given a message to actively inform and advise teachers and school management. Additional info is also available on the vaktsineeri.ee webpage.
Those who have refused the vaccine on principle, make up a few percentage points of all education employees.
On Friday, vaccines were shipped out across Estonia and injections will begin in many schools on Monday. Sõber however did not wish to name any specific institutions.
When all education workers will receive a vaccine will largely depend on incoming shipments, but Sõber was hopeful that all applicants could receive their first jab by March. A vaccine option will also be opened down the road for those that did not want one now.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste