Government acknowledges vaccination failures

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Coronavirus vaccine in progress. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The government admits to certain failures in the process of vaccinating frontline workers. The coming days should see a specific action plan drawn up, helping Estonia proceed with vaccinations.

When Võru High School received a letter from the Ministry of Education to create a list of vaccine applicants, the school did so. But then, a week passed before the school was contacted on Wednesday to tell them vaccinations begin on Thursday, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

"After I sent the list to the ministry, teachers asked the next day if vaccinations were starting now. I said we need to wait a little, they will let us know shortly. Now, the moment has come a week later and Võru Hospital notified us that we must be ready to take our teachers there tomorrow (Thursday - ed) and bring them back. They said that everyone should be vaccinated by the end of the school break (February 22-28)," said Võru High School director Karmo Kurvits.

The government admits that the process of vaccinating frontline workers has endured certain delays. According to Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center), the decision to not administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 70 and up is the main culprit, unexpectedly freeing up vaccines for frontline workers.

"Then there was a temporary delay with creating lists in the education sector, the interior security sector. These problems are now solved," Kiik said. "Cooperation, organization, logistics have been agreed as education sector vaccinations were started this week, same with the interior security sector and defense sector, meaning we will move forward with frontline workers. This means the vaccination tempo will increase both this week and the next."

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said a specific action plan should be created in the coming days, detailing how the government will move forward with vaccines. "What are the processes, who is responsible for the processes, the different parts of work - who is responsible for logistics, who for lists, how they will communicate, how can we get it going smoothly, where there are vaccination centers and vaccinators," Kallas said.

By now, the ministries have forwarded the number of vaccine applicants in their responsible fields. Specific lists will be ready shortly. "I sincerely hope these failures that happened in education and security are past us and we have time to map out the next target groups before the vaccine arrives in Estonia," said Tanel Kiik.

According to the health minister, the private sector will be included in the vaccinations of certain groups. Kiik however does not support vaccinations in pharmacies, as that would still require healthcare workers to conduct vaccinations there.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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