Estonia to receive 62,000 additional Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses

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The first COVID-19 vaccines administered at Tartu University Hospital and University Family Doctors' Center. Source: Jassu Hertsmann / Ministry of Social Affairs.

62,000 additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine will be delivered to Estonia under a new European Union agreement, the government said on Thursday. The vaccines will be delivered in the second quarter.

Manufacturer Pfizer/BioNTech has been able to produce more vaccines than originally planned during the first quarter of 2021 and will deliver 10 million additional doses to the European Union ahead of schedule, the government said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Seven million doses will be shared among the member states based on the size of each country's population and Estonia will be in line to receive 21,000 doses.

The remaining three million doses will be split between the five countries which did not order the full amount of Pfizer/BioNTech doses last year. From this, Estonia will receive 41,000 additional doses. Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia will also get extra doses. 

These extra 61,000 extra doses will fully vaccinate 31,000 people, as two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is needed for full immunity.

In a statement, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the negotiations for additional vaccines have been "very difficult" as many countries are currently seeing rapid rises in their infection rates. However, he called the outcome "favorable for Estonia".

"We are getting close to twice as many doses than the size of our population would have indicated for us," he said.

On Thursday evening, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said Estonia is receiving the doses thanks to "EU solidarity and cooperation"

"Every vaccine dose helps us fight against this pandemic, save lives, and is a step closer to our normal way of life," she wrote.  

Speaking at a press conference earlier on Thursday, Kallas said she hoped 70 percent of the population will be vaccinated by the end of May. Currently, 200,000 people have received at least a first dose of coronavirus vaccine in Estonia. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva Maria Liimets tweeted her thanks to Lithuania for showing support on Thursday evening. "Special gratitude to Lithuania," she wrote. "For good cooperation & support in this process."

Estonia has purchased five types of vaccines under the EU's joint procurement scheme giving the country the opportunity to purchase 4,568,810 doses of vaccine which will fully vaccinate 2,434,406 people. Estonia's population is 1.3 million.

Estonia has purchase agreements for Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and CureVac.

Latvia to receive 400,000 extra doses  

Latvia, which has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in the European Union, will receive 400,000 extra doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Prime Minister Krišjans Karinš wrote on Twitter.

"The 400 000 additional #PfizerBioNTech vaccines Latvia will receive during the coming months will bring us closer to our common goal - a collective immunity across the EU," he tweeted.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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