Kiik: 1 million vaccine doses expected in coming months

Minister of Health Tanel Kiik (Center).
Minister of Health Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Approximately a million doses of coronavirus vaccine are expected to arrive in Estonia during the second quarter of the year, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Wednesday.

Kiik said in response to questions from MPs that in the second quarter 25,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are expected to be delivered to Estonia every week and the delivery volume will increase to 30,000 doses per week. The minister added that Estonia is requesting additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

He said Moderna vaccine is expected to deliver approximately 100,000 doses in the second quarter.

The Jenssen vaccine will also arrive in Estonia starting April. According to Kiik, Estonia is expected to receive more than 100,000 doses of this vaccine in the second quarter.

AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries will remain unstable in the second quarter as well, the minister said.

Mass vaccination drive over weekend saw both problems, successes

Speaking about the mass vaccinations at the weekend, Kiik said there were both problems as well as successes. He disagreed with an MP who said the event had been a failure.

Kiik noted that over 17,000 people had been vaccinated over the weekend and two thirds of the vaccine recipients were aged over 60. In total, over 40,000 people were vaccinated last week, he added. The minister underscored that the option to get vaccinated should be made available as quickly as possible; however, the focus should be on at-risk groups.

Kiik said that preliminary conclusions can be drawn from the mass vaccination drive.

Interest by the elderly was lower than expected in some vaccination centers, he said. The minister noted that the opportunity to receive the vaccine should be announced longer in advance, however, this also depends on vaccine consignments arriving in Estonia.

PM: Vaccination progressing successfully in Estonia

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas disagreed with claims of the organization of vaccination being in disorder and opined that the vaccination process is running successfully in Estonia.

Speaking during parliament question time on Wednesday she said she disagrees with claims of the vaccination drive being in "complete disorder". Kallas noted that immunization is progressing well and 21 percent of the adult population have already been immunized against COVID-19.

Kallas said vaccination progress depends on vaccine consignments arriving in Estonia.

"Fewer doses have arrived and thus, we're operating in a vaccine deficit. We've agreed that two-thirds must be used for vaccinating at-risk groups and one-third for inoculating front-line workers. As we've been receiving fewer vaccines, we've halted the vaccination of front-line workers to be able to vaccinate at-risk groups and reduce the burden on the medical system," she said.

Kallas pointed out that the goal was to vaccinate 40,000 people last week and 41,000 people received the shot. Over the three days before the Easter Holidays, 20,000 people were to be vaccinated and 17,000 got their jab as not enough elderly people were reached in time.

"There's a lesson to be learned from the past weekend. The lesson is that when it comes to mass vaccination events, a more personal approach is needed for the elderly, the vaccination of whom is a priority in under the current vaccine deficit. They want to be able to consult their family doctor and to receive their vaccine near their home," Kallas said.

She added that in several cities and towns, such as in Pärnu, the vaccination effort over the weekend proved successful. With Tallinn being a big city, if vaccination is organized in the Lasnamäe city district, for example, residents of the Nõmme city district would rather wait until an option becomes available to receive the shot near their home, she said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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