Estonia requests additional 660,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses from EU

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Coronavirus vaccines at East-Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

The government agreed on Tuesday to request an additional 660,000 additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from the EU's joint procurement scheme providing it can be delivered in the second quarter.

As doses gradually arrive in Estonia, it is possible to order more and increase the pace of vaccination in the second quarter, the Ministry of Social Affairs said.

Under the EU's joint procurement deal, Estonia will receive an initial 603,876 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Estonia has also requested an additional 100,000 doses. 

But now discussions to partially redistribute vaccines are underway in the Steering Committee for the Joint Procurement of COVID-19 Vaccines which aims to change delivery schedules.

This gives Estonia the opportunity to apply for additional doses and it will now ask for an additional 660,552 doses, the government has agreed, providing the additional arrive in the second quarter.

Additionally, the EU Commission has placed a second joint order of which Estonia will receive 250,000 doses. Estonia has also requested an additional 100,000 doses from this order.

In total, Estonia will request 1,714,428 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, allowing approximately 857,214 people to get fully vaccinated with two doses.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the main hindrance to Estonia's vaccination plan is the limited supply of vaccines, as manufacturers have been hit with supply problems and have canceled orders at short notice.

Earlier this week it was reported Estonia was asking for the redistribution and prioritization of vaccines at the European Commission.

As of Tuesday morning, 150,080 vaccinations have been administered in Estonia. 105,845 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of vaccine and 44,235 have received two doses. The coverage of COVID-19 vaccination with at least one vaccine dose is currently 8 percent in Estonia.

Estonia has joined five pre-purchase agreements from the EU's COVID-19 vaccine joint procurement scheme for doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and CureVac. 

It has also placed an additional order for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December.

So far, Estonia has purchased a total of 5,229,362 doses of vaccine which is enough for 2,764,681 people, more than enough to vaccinate the whole population of 1.3 million people.

Editor's note: This article was updated to change the number of Pfizer/BioNTech doses Estonia has applied for and the headline.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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