The first coronavirus mass vaccination center in the capital opened its doors Friday, as per schedule. By the end of the day, 1,350 people had been vaccinated.
The centers are aimed primarily at ensuring the vaccination of the elderly and other at-risk individuals and mirror nationwide initiatives which coincide with both the recent arrival of tens of thousands of vaccination doses, and the three-day weekend.
The first center opened at the Sõle Sports Center (see gallery above) in North Tallinn, while another, similar center is set to open Saturday at the Tondiraba Ice Rink, in the capital's Lasnamäe district.
45,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Estonia earlier in the week.
Individuals aged 65 or over are first in line for the doses, along with those over 60 who are identified as at-risk. The state says the intention is to fully vaccinate this demographic this year.
The mass vaccination centers at Sõle, Tondiraba and elsewhere require pre-registration online or over the phone. As of Friday lunchtime, there were still plenty of free spots available at both the new Tallinn centers, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
Close to 4,000 are expected at the Sõle center, which opens 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. over Easter weekend, with over 3,000 expected at the Tondiraba center Saturday and Sunday. The centers are operated by two private sector firms, Confido, in the case of the Sõle center, while Medicum is administering the Tondiraba location., which opens the same length of time, but an hour earlier (i.e. 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.) than the Sõle center.
The Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) is allocating AstraZeneca vaccines to both centers.
Those born in 1956 or earlier, or in 1961 or earlier in the case of at-risk individuals, are eligible to be vaccinated and can do so either via the digilugu patient portal or through their family doctor.
The Sõle Sports Center is located at Sõle 40a, where bus lines 33, 40, 66 and 72 stop. Tondiraba Ice Rink is located at Varraku 14, next to the Virbi bus stop for bus lines 19, 44, 51 and 65.
Buses, trolleybuses and trams on these routes and in central Tallinn will be following week-day schedules over Easter Weekend, in order to provide better and safer ways of getting to the centers, ERR reports.
Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) says a total of six coronavirus vaccine centers (including the Sõle and Tondiraba sites) are to be opened through the course of this year.
Security and safety compliance is being monitored by Tallinn's municipal police.
Nationwide, vaccinations are to take place at hospitals, namely: Läänemaa Hospital, Hiiumaa Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital, Jõgeva Hospital, Järva County Hospital, Rakvere Hospital, Põlva Hospital, Pärnu Hospital, Rapla County Hospital, Kuressaare Hospital, the North Estonian Medical Center, Tallinn Children's Hospital, Tallinn Children's Hospital and Viljandi Hospital.
The vaccine appointment phone lines are +372 600 7775 (Estonian) and +372 600 7774 (Russian); the Estonian-language line informed ERR News Friday that English-speaking operators were available on that number.
Editor's note: This article was updated to add the total number of people vaccinated on Friday (April 2) at Sõle Sports Center.
Editor: Andrew Whyte