Vaccination centers, hospitals to take over from family doctors in mid-May

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A coronavirus vaccine at East Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

From mid-May, five vaccination centers will open and run seven days a week taking over the vaccination process from family doctors.

Family doctors have recieved letters from the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) telling them that from May 17 they can no longer order doses of  Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Vaccination of people under 50 is schedualed to start on this date but a considerable number of vaccines will also be needed as second doses.

Doctors will still be able to order AstraZeneca and Janssen, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

Maivi Parv, member of the board of the Health Insurance Fund, said family doctors have almost finished vaccinating people in risk groups and they have needed small amounts of vaccines in recent weeks.

According to the initial plan, vaccination centers in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Jõhvi and Narva will open in mid-May. More are planned on the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiuma and vaccination will also be handled by Rakvere and Viljandi hospitals.

Head of the vaccination process Marek Seer said: "The idea of the vaccination center is that they are designed to work from Monday to Sunday for eight to 10 hours [a day]. There are general hospitals in county centers and it cannot be ruled out that we will reach an agreement with some family doctor centers."

Triinu-Mari Ots, Laagri's family doctor, said family doctors carrying out vaccination of risk groups was justified as many people wanted to discuss their options and health but sending younger people to vaccine centers is a logical step.

She does not believe that doctors will want to continue vaccinating young people.

"We've been working full-time for the last two or three months focusing on vaccination. I believe most GPs are happy that vaccination is done and that this work is no longer on our shoulders," said Ots.

Seer also ruled out the idea of a vaccine bus, which has been floated in the past.

On Friday, it will be decided it vaccintion will be open to the general public on May 17.  

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Editor: Helen Wright

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