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Record number of coronavirus vaccinations administered on Wednesday

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

On Wednesday a record number of coronavirus vaccinations - 4,335 - were administered in Estonia, more than twice as many as usual.

The Health Board said 4,335 injections were given on Wednesday (February 17). In comparison 1,833 were carried out on Monday and 619 on Tuesday.

This week has seen vaccinations move away from risk only groups to include frontline workers such as teachers and the emergency services. Previously, vaccines were reserved for healthcare workers and people living in care homes.

The vaccine plan was changed after Estonia put an age limit of 70 on the AstraZeneca. Now the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be used for older people and AstraZeneca for younger people. This has freed up vaccines for frontline workers who will now be vaccinated ahead of schedule.

However, due to the speeding up of this process, the role out of vaccines to frontline workers has been slower than anticipated.

"Then there was a temporary delay with creating lists in the education sector, the interior security sector. These problems are now solved," Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik said on Wednesday. "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."

Kiik also told ERR on Wednesday the plan is to reduce the stockpile of vaccines so there are essentially none left in storage as tens of thousands more doses are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

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. She has also said centers will be created in the future to help administer the vaccines.

Vaccinations for people working in the education sector started on Monday.  Dr. Helen Mülle, a physician coordinating the vaccination at West Tallinn Central Hospital, said the day went smoothly and people were in a good mood. However, while 325 people were supposed to receive a jab, 60 did not show up. 

On Wednesday, Deputy Director General of the Rescue Board Andreas Anvelt said vaccinations for police and rescue workers had started this week and almost 70 percent of the 2,100 has requested the first jab so far. Their injections are being administered by medical company Qvalitas, as rescue workers are regularly checked by the company in line with their work, which has seen the process start quickly.

Vaccinations will also start among the Defense Forces this week.

In total, 52,263 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Estonia, and of those 23,812 have received a second dose.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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