Vaccine selection has slowed down vaccination process in Ida-Viru County

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Vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

Data from the Health Board shows that some 15 percent of Estonia's population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the respective indicator for Ida-Viru County is at less than 9 percent - lowest of all Estonian counties. The process has been slowed down as some people want to choose a vaccine suitable for them.

The Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) has said the slow pace of vaccinations in Ida-Viru County does not stem from a lack of vaccines. There are more vaccines available in the county than people wanting to get vaccinated and the capacity to conduct vaccinations is also on par with the rest of Estonia. The issue is more in peoples' attitudes as some want or fear specific vaccines.

ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported that just seven of the 50 frontline workers on staff at the Päikene kindergarten in Narva have gotten vaccinated.

"The selection is too slim. If AstraZeneca is offered, it is not trusted. I asked if they were offered Moderna or Pfizer, people would go then. That is the greatest obstacle," said Päikene director Heli Adamovitš.

Doctors in Narva Hospital said successful vaccinations are largely a question of faith and media coverage. But as long as frontline workers and people in risk groups argue over the effectiveness of Moderna and Sputnik, many people will miss out on vaccines in the meantime.

"We are called by a lot of people wanting to get vaccinated, but they are unfortunately not aged 60+ or 70+, they are not teachers or medics. If the state would allow applicants to be vaccinated, there would be more people vaccinated. I think the people of Ida-Viru County should be allowed to choose between Pfizer and Moderna," said Narva Hospital infection control nurse Anastassia Gorškova.

Russia is also calling Russian citizens living in Estonia to go and get the Sputnik vaccine. There have been some people in Narva who have crossed the border for vaccinations, but vaccines administered in Ivangorod are not reflected in official Estonian data.

As of Thursday, 203,365 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Estonia, with 63,696 of them having already received their second dose.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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