Kiik: Health Board's information about ruined vaccines was too optimistic

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Tanel Kiik Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Health Board's initial e-mail about the sudden rise in temperature in the cold store, which ruined hundreds of thousands of medicines and vaccines, suggested the incident was less serious than it turned out to be, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Friday.

"I agree that the timeframe for the notification was clearly not enough. I would have preferred to receive the information earlier and the information I received was, politely, too optimistic, but it could also be said it was inaccurate. In retrospect, it turned out that the systems were not in order, the temperatures were not right and these rooms cannot be used until a very thorough examination has been carried out," Kiik said at Riigikogu committee briefing session on Friday.

The minister spoke about an e-mail sent to him on Friday, June 25, by Üllar Lanno, director general of the Health Board. The email was also addressed to the undersecretary of Health of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the secretary general of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

"He forwarded the previous e-mail of his institution - the Health Board - which had gone to the State Agency of Medicines, Riigi Kinnisvara, Üllar Lanno himself, various representatives of the Health Board and the Health Insurance Fund and the ministry," Kiik said.

The minister also highlighted things that turned out later to be inaccurate.

"Problems arose over a longer period of time, from the pre-holiday period and also after the initial visit of the technician, the initial fixing of the situation, the initial false assessment that the situation has been resolved," Kiik stated.

He said that at that time, neither the State Agency of Medicines nor the manufacturers of medicines had information on whether or not the vaccines and medicines stored in warehouses, where the temperature suddenly rose above the permitted norm during the Midsummer holidays, could be used.

"This information, as I said, gradually came out on Monday, Tuesday and over time, the situation got worse and worse. In other words, the assessment was more optimistic at the beginning and today we consider that essentially all of this supply must be replaced for safety reasons," Kiik said.

Earlier this week it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of medicines - including 68,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine - had been ruined after a cold storage unit owned by the Health Board became too hot.

Initially, it was reported the incident occurred over the Midsummer holiday when staff were not at work but it has now become the incident started several days before.

Nõgene: Why is Lanno still in office?

Paavo Nõgene, head of the shipping company Tallink, who has long been critical of the state's vaccination process, said Üllar Lanno should resign.

"In the special committee of the Riigikogu, Minister Kiik announced that the temperature in one cold room exceeded the permitted norm already on the evening of June 21. Also that the rooms were visited on June 22. On the afternoon of June 22, the Health Board was closed and Midsummer's Day began. (Why is) Mr. Lanno, still in office?" Nõgene wrote on Twitter.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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