Ministry: When 70 percent of elderly are vaccinated, age limit can drop
People over the age of 50 can be vaccinated after 70-75 percent of the elderly have been vaccinated, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs Maris Jesse said on Tuesday.
Speaking on ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" she said the government's scientific advisory council had discussed the issue on Monday.
"The scientific council's recommendation was that in most counties, coverage should be 70-75 percent or that we can see this is approaching. We're not far from that. We have enough doses of vaccine to make that leap in the coming weeks," Jesse said.
Between 60,000 and 70,000 Pfizer/BioNTech doses will be delivered to Estonia this month and, in total, it is expected 100,000 doses will be delivered from the manufacturers.
Additionally, towards the end of the month, the first doses of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine should arrive in Estonia. Unlike the others, this is a single-dose vaccine.
Jesse encouraged young people to help their older relatives to sign up for vaccinations.
She also said the government needs to talk more about the benefits of vaccines to help lower concerns around the vaccines.
"Two people who have received a dose of the vaccine have become ill - less than 0.1 percent - and according to PERH and the ÜT Clinic, none of them have been hospitalized, ie the illness of these few people has been mild." she said.
Currently, coronavirus vaccinations are only being given to people over the age of 60. Yesterday, ERR News reported that Estonia's elderly vaccination rate is below the European average.
EHIF: Age limit could be lowered in some counties
Rain Laane, the head of the Health Insurance Fund (EHIF), suggested the age limit for coronavirus vaccinations could start to vary county-by-county as some have already vaccinated their elderly residents.
"We look at Estonia by counties, we look at coverage by counties. It could be possible that in some counties, such as Saare County, Hiiu County, Lääne County, where 70 percent of the elderly have been vaccinated, to reduce the age limit," Laane told ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday.
He said it is hoped the vaccination age limit will be reduced across Estonia in the coming weeks as more doses arrive in the country.
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Editor: Helen Wright