As of Monday, the vaccination coverage for people aged 80 and above stands at 58.5 percent. At the same time, there are some family physician registries in Estonia, where coverage among the oldest age groups has not peaked 10 percent yet.
There were eight family physician centers in Estonia last week, where the elderly vaccine coverage was between 0-9 percent.
Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) spokesperson Evelin Trink told ERR that there are four centers, where there are only one or two patients and one center's registry has four patients. Therefore, the percentage of vaccinated people is lower if one person's refusal matters so much.
At the same time, Maardu family physician Nadežda Matõženko's registry lists 14 people aged 80 and up, only one of them has received a vaccination. Matoženko told ERR that the center has offered vaccines to all of their patients, but most decline.
"Patients do not wish to get vaccinated, we have offered and we have had to do so. But now, Maardu city government is conducting mass vaccinations, some people might receive an injection there as well," the physician said.
There are two registries in Ida-Viru County where there are more elderly patients. Neeme Family Physician Center doctor Vjatšeslav Tihhonov's registry consists of 78 people in the 80+ age group with 7.7 percent of them having received a vaccination. Niina Kondratjeva's registry has 21 patients, but none have been inoculated.
ERR was unable to get in contact with either of the physicians.
Evelin Trink said there are many reasons for vaccination centers with low coverage rates. "We asked family physician centers for reasons and they vary. Some physicians were ill themselves, others have their vaccinations conducted by other registries. Elderly physicians are not as fast and there is a lot of anxiety, which means there is plenty to explain to patients," Trink said.
The Health Insurance Fund representative said physicians are not suffering from a lack of vaccines, because the state vaccination plan is implemented, earmarking vaccinations for all people aged 50 and up, to go with risk groups. Trink added that some physicians direct their patients to hospitals as well.
"Family physicians are vigorously injecting. A majority of the inoculations are conducted by family physicians and we should reach a new stage on May 17, which is natural in a crisis situation," Trink said and added that general vaccinations will be opened in the near future.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste