There are currently 35,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines which are waiting to be used, Minister of Health and Labor, Tanel Kiik (Center), said Thursday.
A little under 10,000 doses are to be found in the Health Board's (Terviseamet) stock, which are earmarked for the second (of two) shot in the coming weeks. In addition, there are around 25,000 doses which have been sent to institutions administering vaccinations, and these should be used this week or the beginning of next week, Kiik said.
The minister said that on February 24, which was a national holiday, 500 people were vaccinated. But when looking at the rate for this week, slightly more people than last week were vaccinated at 20,000 individuals, Kiik said.
The question of rates of vaccinations at weekends and national holidays has been raised recently before; authorities prefer to issue weekly figures, so as to catch up on numbers on working days.
Kiik: Situation critical now
Kiik added that because there are not enough vaccine doses available yet, only 5 percent of society is vaccinated, then it is currently more important to actively use measures of restricting the spread of the virus.
Naturally authorities should try speeding the vaccination process, but 95 percent of people have to protect their health in another way at present, Kiik said.
Speaking about the government's decisions expected this week which may tighten the existing restrictions furhter, Kiik said that since the viral situation in Estonia is worse than ever, it is necessary to seriously limit people's contact with each other.
"We are currently in a critical situation, COVID-19 has never been as widespread in Estonia as it is now. The infection rate in the last seven days is twice as high in Estonia as it was four weeks ago," Kiik stated. He said that the public sense of danger has evaporated, and this can also be seen in the populace's mobility data. If no decisions are made now, Estonia may soon find itself in the same situation as Lithuania and Latvia, where the coronavirus fatality rate has been two to three times higher than in Estonia, the minister noted.
According to recent figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), Estonia has the fourth-highest 14-day coronavirus rate per 100,00 inhabitants, at 820.
Editor: Roberta Vaino