Vaccination of students in fall to be done by physicians and school nurses

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

Although children aged 12-15 can register for COVID-19 vaccination in the digital registry, the option of getting inoculated in mass vaccination centers will no longer be available in the fall. This means that new solutions must be found for student vaccinations and one option is to use school nurses.

Since children aged 12-15 have only been vaccinated for some two weeks, it is too early to assess the coverage for the age group. Family physicians say there are plenty children interested, some of them were in line to get vaccinated in Ida-Viru County on Tuesday, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

"I play basketball all over Estonia and I need it for other people, so that I would not catch the virus and spread it," Jaagup told ERR.

Family physicians say vaccinations could also be conducted in schools. "Since vaccination options are now extended to children, I hope that school nurses will also get the opportunity to begin vaccination and this will improve the situation greatly," Eero Merilind, a family physician, said.

Marek Seer, chief of the COVID-19 vaccination work group, said: "School nurses have had a significant role in inoculations based on the immunization plan. I believe it is also the case now, why should it go any differently?"

Kädi Lepp, head of Tallinn school health care (Tallinna koolitervishoid), said school nurses are prepared to vaccinate children. "I approve of it myself, school nurses have vaccination experience and children already know them, there will be no fear of injections. But nurses certainly have to be prepared, we must organize the entire procedure - how vaccines reach us, how is the cold chain regulated and so on," Lepp explained.

According to Le Vallikivi, chairwoman of the board at the Estonian Association of Family Physicians, that process can be organized by family physicians.

"We have also ordered and conducted school vaccinations. I see no reason why we should not do it if it is necessary. But it probably is not wise to burst through some open door and begin doubling actions," Vallikivi noted.

Currently, children aged 12-15 can get inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine will also become an option from fall.

Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center) said student vaccinations are being looked into. "We have also communicated with the Minister of Education and Research [Liina Kersna] to offer vaccinations to the entire school family, both teachers and students. And hopefully, we can do so with multiple vaccines, as the Moderna vaccine should also receive a permit among the 12-15 age group," Kiik said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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