Estonia will continue to use AstraZeneca vaccines

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Irja Lutsar. Source: ERR / Siim Lõvi

Estonia will continue to vaccinate people with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Estonia's immunoprophylaxis expert committee has said because the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Immunoprophylaxis expert committee commission member Professor Irja Lutsar told ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday evening: "We decided that we will not stop vaccinations. For now, it is not clearly proven that the vaccine is related to thrombosis."

Lutsar also said no causal relationship between the AstraZeneca vaccine and thrombosis has been found.

She said that the expert committee will meet again on Thursday and by then the European Medical Agency's (EMA) report on the subject should have been published.

"In there, all the details have been published and then we will decide how to move forward, it will depend on this study," she said.

The professor of virology said the commission had considered the positives and the negatives and Estonia's current epidemiological situation, which has seen the country's infection rate quickly rise to the second highest in Europe. "We found that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the negatives," she said.  

Minister for Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) also said Estonia will keep using the doses at a press conference on Tuesday.

Several European countries have temporarily stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine after it was reported several vaccines had experienced blot clots after getting the first dose. The European Medicines Agency maintains the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks, news website Politico Europe reported.

Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden have all suspended vaccinations. Finland is continuing to use AstraZeneca and will make a decision after the EMA report on Thursday.

Yesterday, the head of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) said he wants Estonia to apply to other countries to get their unwanted doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Kiik told ERR a decision will be made later this week: "We are waiting for the EMA's decision on Thursday. Based on this, the countries will form their position on whether to continue using AstraZeneca, and on this basis Estonia will be able to take its own steps."

He said countries have so far only temporarily suspended using the vaccine not rejected it completely.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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