Ministry: At least 100,000 people given first shot of vaccine

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Coronavirus vaccine. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

As of Sunday morning, 101,452 people had been given the first shot of vaccine in Estonia, with 43,942 people having received both shots.

Vaccinations total 145,394. This week has seen 32,661 shots of vaccines administered, up more than 30 percent from last week, the Ministry of Social Affairs said.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said that the pace of vaccination has grown and March will see Estonia take delivery of more vaccine than previously, with quantities sent to family medicine centers also set to grow. The minister added that new service providers, such as private clinics, will join the ranks of institutions involved in immunization.

"The COVID-19 disease is unpredictable, can be very severe and its long-term health effects are still unknown. All COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness, help prevent the need for hospitalization and curb the mortality rate. By getting vaccinated, we help ourselves and others, also helping to lower the workload of the healthcare sector so we could gradually return to normal life," Kiik said.

"As many people as possible opting for immunization is absolutely necessary for overcoming the global COVID-19 pandemic," he added.

Several family medicine centers, hospitals and private clinics are vaccinating people this weekend. Vaccination of people belonging to risk groups will continue next week mostly in family medicine centers, while different healthcare institutions will be in charge of vaccinating essential workers – education workers, police and rescue and local government social workers.

COVID-19 vaccination coverage with at least one dose administered is 7.63 percent in Estonia on Sunday. The average single-dose coverage of people over the age of 80 is 27.1 percent. Hiiumaa has vaccinated the most people over 80 (43.3 percent), followed by Saaremaa (36.3 percent), Lääne County (36.1 percent), Pärnu County (35.3 percent) and Rapla County (35 percent).

People are invited to come in to get vaccinated via a phone call or a digital notification through the eesti.ee portal. People are urged to make sure their eesti.ee email address has been forwarded to an address they use and renew their contact information if necessary. Otherwise, notifications may not arrive. Forwarding of state portal emails can be verified by clicking on "Notifications settings" in the state portal.

Diseases and conditions that give one a very high risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 have been determined by the national immunoprophylactic expert committee and listed in the COVID-19 vaccination plan.

People over 70 are counted as a risk group because of their advanced age. The Health Insurance Fund sent every family doctor a list of risk group patients in their practice list. The goal is to cover as much of the risk group as possible to reach people most in danger from COVID-19.

A total of 461 medical centers have administered vaccines. The Health Board is expecting private medical services providers with a specialist care activity license to sign contracts for vaccination for when Estonia starts receiving larger quantities of vaccines.

Following the recommendation of the national immunoprophylactic expert committee, people over the age of 70 are vaccinated using Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, while people under 70 with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The aim of COVID-19 vaccination is to protect risk groups people in which are more likely to take ill or in whose case the illness may be more severe, to prevent and reduce COVID-19 cases and deaths, reduce the workload of the healthcare system and the economy and ensure normal functioning of society.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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