Not enough vaccines for elderly teachers in Tallinn

Doctors were the first to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in Tallinn on December 27.
Doctors were the first to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in Tallinn on December 27. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The vaccination of education employees started this week, but there are not enough vaccines in Tallinn for all teachers aged 70 and up. In total, more than 15,500 education professionals applied for vaccines.

Tallinn German High School director Kaarel Rundu said the fastest decisions to apply for vaccines were made by those who have been isolated on multiple occasions. Close to 80 percent of the school's teachers and other workers will get vaccinated.

Mart Kuhi, a teacher at the German High School, said that he feels safer in the school having been vaccinated. "I do not have to worry about being directed to isolation, but I would also like to visit my grandparents at some point," Kuhi said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered to those under the age of 70, a combination of Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines will be given to those older than 70.

All pedagogues and workers aged 70 and up did not receive a vaccine in Tallinn however. Deputy mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev said the city lacks enough vaccines to vaccinate all education workers, who are 70 or above. "We know that AstraZeneca is not a suitable vaccine for them, but we have very little when it comes to other vaccines," he said.

According to Belobrovtsev, older pedagogues that were vaccinated by the West Tallinn Central Hospital all received vaccines, the same cannot be said for those vaccinated by the East Tallinn Central Hospital. Spokespeople of the latter told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday that the hospital requested Moderna vaccines, but the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) told them that the vaccines are scarce and older teachers were directed to their family physician.

Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center) noted that there could be delays. "Healthcare institutions, who are organizing vaccinations based on lists, must order different dosages to ensure enough for both groups. There can certainly be temporary activation delays," he said.

Although vaccinations are organized by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) promised to raise the question during a government cabinet sitting.

"We want to protect people in risk groups before all and if a teacher is someone in a risk group, we should not delay their vaccinations, on the contrary - we must do it as fast as possible, with a vaccine suitable for them," Kersna said.

According to the education minister, the goal is to vaccinate all teachers in primary and high schools by March 18. Vaccinations for basic education (kindergartens) workers will begin on March 1, after which vocational school and university staff will be vaccinated, followed by hobby education professionals.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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