Family physicians awaiting clear restrictions for unvaccinated people

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Karmen Joller. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Family physicians are awaiting the government for a fast and clear decisions about which kind of restrictions will be imposed on people not vaccinated against the coronavirus in the fall, family physician Karmen Joller said on Wednesday.

"We can do all we can, but people will not come for vaccinations if they do not know that they cannot do an activity from October 1 if they are not vaccinated," Joller said at a Health Board press conference on Wednesday. "This is our request to the government: let the people know what are the freedoms for unvaccinated people from October 1."

Joller said the government should have already made these decisions. "We certainly cannot infringe on fundamental rights, such as the right to medical care, but nice events, such as cinemas, theaters and camps should only be allowed for those inoculated,"

The physician admitted that she is not pleased with the awareness of people in regards to restrictions. "People must clearly know [what awaits them] - it must be simple and concise," Joller noted.

She explained that the information should be provided in a manner that would not lead people to get vaccinated due to fear of sanctions, but rather because they understand what protection vaccines give them.

"It gives people a sense of security, knowing they can send their children to school, call an ambulance, go to the doctor without themselves or their close ones getting infected. Knowing that these people who are my close ones or who I am in contact with are vaccinated," Joller said, emphasizing that people working with vulnerable people, such as caretakers and ambulance personnel, should have to be vaccinated.

She called on everyone not vaccinated to do so immediately, since the period between two vaccine injections is around six weeks and an inoculated person achieves immunity a week or two after their second dose.

Physicians present seven proposals

On Wednesday, the Family Physicians Association of Estonia, the Estonian Nurses Union and the Young Family Doctors of Estonia presented a joint address, in which they made seven proposals to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

A societal agreement

We will only defeat the health and economic crisis if we have a common goal. In order to avoid the virus from spreading and affecting our life organization, each one of us must take responsibility and get vaccinated during the summer. Now is the last time to do so for protection to develop before fall.

The government must help develop a societal agreement. Restrictions should only affect those who have decided against vaccinating themselves - their choice endangers the health and lives of others.

Freedom of choice

By getting vaccinated, we protect ourselves and those around us. Each decision matters and affects the spread of the virus. Let us use our options wisely - let us choose an open society!

Vaccinated people must have more options and freedoms, because they do not endanger others.

Vaccination is a rule

There are professions where vaccinations should be mandatory. These are all workers who are in contact with vulnerable groups and all whose work is important for the functioning of the state.

All who wish to get vaccinated can do so, including children

Vaccines must be available for all who want it. Children and young people must certainly be vaccinated and their vaccinations should be started as soon as possible. Although they suffer lightly from COVID-19, there are children who can fall seriously ill: children with chronic cardiovascular diseases and nervous system diseases and obese children.

Children can also develop a rare serious multisystem inflammatory condition that has also been reported among Estonian children. Children can carry the virus on to other children and adults, including those in risk groups.

Vaccinations must be simple and available for all regardless of place of residence

Creativity is key when organizing vaccinations and all options must be used. Vaccination points must be located in locations that are easily accessible for all people. Vaccination registration should be available in shopping malls, pharmacies, by phone and by internet.

We must recognize entrepreneurs who take care of their employees by calling vaccinators to the workplace. We must also use practical assistance from entrepreneurs - from providing benefits for vaccinated people to assisting in the vaccination process. There have been many offers made - why is taking some of the offers up taking such a long time?

Vaccination logistics must be reasonable

Calling people to get vaccinated should be done by all options and not just hope on medics. Current experience shows that people can be called for vaccinations via e-mail, text messages, call center robots, but all non-medical workers of call centers could do it. Vaccinations could be improved by allowing people to get their second dose in another location.

Common, simple and clear communication

The government must express its decisions with clear and concise communication, using less words and more substance. The time of soft convincing is over. We have stepped on the ledge of another crisis. The words of government members must be concrete and decisions must be fast, powerful, clear and scientifically proven.

For the Estonian state, entrepreneurs and people to be able to bear the weight of a third wave, the government must make clear decisions today - to allow people to get vaccinated before the fall and for medics to prepare to admit them.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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