Health minister: Supply of vaccines to likely exceed demand from mid-June

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

Minister of Health and Labor (Center) Tanel Kiik said that there will likely be more vaccines available in mid-June than there is demand.

Kiik said at a sitting of the Riigikogu state budget control select committee that in the last 10 weeks, the rate of vaccination has tripled compared to the previous 10 weeks. However, he stated that the goals set for vaccinating the elderly had not been met for various reasons.

Kiik said that in most counties, the goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of the age group 70+ has been achieved, but the regional differences are vast. He mentioned, for example, that vaccination is most successful on the island of Hiiumaa, while in Harju County and Ida-Viru County the level of coverage is low. Kiik noted that the coverage is the lowest in Ida-Viru County, where 30.7 percent of the 80+ age group have been vaccinated. "We are certainly not satisfied with these numbers," the minister said.

At the same time, Kiik pointed out that vaccine coverage in East-Viru County is approaching the national average in all age groups.

According to the minister, the vaccination of the elderly has been slower than the rate set by the government for several reasons. He noted that some of the elderly have recovered from the virus and are therefore not rushing to get vaccinated. Information also reaches the elderly with greater difficulty. According to Kiik, the opportunity to get vaccinated at home, for example, should be better offered and introduced to the elderly.

Speaking about vaccine logistics, Kiik said that the goal is to use all the vaccines that have arrived in the country as soon as possible, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will remain in stock for the second dose. He stated that this weekend there were about 25,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine and around the same amount of Moderna in stock for the second dose. According to Kiik, there were somewhat more AstraZeneca vaccines in stock as of the weekend.

The minister said he thinks that from the middle of June, there will be more vaccines on offer than there is demand, and then a vaccine reserve will start to form. According to him, a surplus of the AstraZeneca vaccine will start to appear earlier and the possibility of giving it to third countries, for example, should be considered.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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