Health minister: Fewer vaccine doses could be kept in reserve

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AstraZeneca vaccine. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Fewer coronavirus vaccine doses could be kept in reserve but with unpredictable deliveries, many need to be used as second doses, Minister for Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Wednesday.

This week Auditor General Janar Holm told Postimees too many vaccines were being kept in reserve and 120,000 were waiting to be used on Monday.

Speaking on ETV's radio show "Vikerhommik", Kiik said stock levels change every day and AstraZeneca's deliveries are still unreliable.

While the manufacturer delivered 65,000 doses last week it is not known if any will arrive this week. The second dose must be given no longer than 12 weeks apart and many people need their shot in the coming weeks.

Kiik said the government is still aiming to use as many doses as possible for first doses but the doses are being kept in reserve as it is difficult to plan around AstraZeneca's deliveries.

"In this sense, I agree with the State Audit Office that this stock level could be smaller, i.e. the current stock is somewhat larger than the need for second doses requires," he said.  

He said is not possible to go against the current guidelines and give the doses to people under 50.

"We must bear in mind that there are indications and health risks that may be associated with younger people and are it is not wise to test this in the current epidemiological situation," he said.

Vaccine manager Marek Seer also said earlier this week that many of the doses in storage are being reserved for second doses.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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