Mass vaccination centers aim for at least 800 injections daily

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Coronavirus vaccinations taking place at Sõle Sports Center. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Starting Monday, two mass vaccination centers will be opened in Tallinn - one in Mustamäe and the other in Lasnamäe. As planned, a person administering the vaccines at the center should be capable of inoculating 15 people in an hour.

While the burden of vaccinating people in Tallinn has so far fallen on the shoulders of family physicians and hospitals, two vaccination centers will be opened in the capital city next week - open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Kaja cultural center (Kaja Kultuurikeskus) in Mustamäe will be operated by the West Tallinn Central Hospital, vaccinations at the Tondiraba Ice Hall (Tondiraba spordihall) will open on Tuesday as medics at the East Tallinn Central Hospital are occupied with frontline vaccinations to start the week.

West Tallinn Central Hospital chief Arkadi Popov said that each vaccination center will inoculate at least 800 people daily. "But this capability could increase to 1,100, even 1,200 injections, if necessary," Popov said, adding that the vaccination center in Tartu is on about the same vaccination level.

With efficient division of labor, Popov said, one nurse could do 15 inoculations in an hour. Vaccinations are only open to those who have booked a time.

If weekly vaccine shipments to Estonia were to increase to 90,000 doses a week in June, Tallinn would open a third vaccination center. The vaccination center at the Sõle Sports Center in the Põhja-Tallinn district will be opened again mid-June, once the interval for the administered AstraZeneca vaccines around Easter hits.

Although East Tallinn Central Hospital will operate at Tondiraba Ice Hall until the beginning of June, those who receive a vaccination there in the spring do not have to go anywhere else to get their second injection in the summer. An option to complete the vaccination will be opened sometime in June.

Popov said the vaccination centers are planned to run for a month initially. "If we see that the interest for vaccinations begins to decrease, it will move to hospitals and family physicians," the hospital chief said.

Inoculations will also take place in local county hospitals, many of them in county capitals. Rakvere Hospital, for example, aims to administer 840 vaccines a week.

"If someone says you should come to mid-town, it is also correct. It would be even better if we could administer vaccines at the mall, but since the number of vaccines counties receive is small, we do not think it is wise to leave the building," said Rakvere Hospital chief Ain Suurkaev.

40+ age group to get better starting position

Although the government decided to not group people aged under 50 any more, people in the 40-50 group can already register for vaccinations on Thursday. Registration through the digital registration system (Patient Portal) will be opened to those younger than 40 from Monday.

"40+ stems from lessening the stress on the digital registration system and a little bit to alleviate the issue of empty time slots on Thursday and Friday," said Marek Seer, head of the vaccination work group.

He noted that there are not enough time slots for everyone. "If you get to the digital registration system on Monday, the likeliness of you getting a time that same week is small, but you will certainly get a time for the week after," Seer said. New vaccination time slots will be added continuously.

While the vaccination of older people has dragged along with a lot of explanatory work needed to be done, younger people likely do not need much convincing and are not selective with vaccines.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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