Auditor: Estonia does not have a valid vaccination plan

Janar Holm
Janar Holm Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Auditor General Janar Holm has criticized the government for not having a valid and published vaccination plan. A new draft does not have clear objectives and it is not known how vaccination levels should be increased among young people or those in Ida-Viru County.

In a letter to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), Holm wrote that the government does not have an up-to-date vaccination plan, the goals set in the vaccination plans are not clear and measurable, and the organization of vaccination has been rigid.

He said a new vaccination plan should have be agreed upon and approved by the expiry date of the old plan on July 1. Holm noted that the government also did not have an up-to-date published vaccination plan between April 1 and 19.

"The existence of a plan that is clear and understandable both to the organizers of vaccination and to society as a whole is a precondition for the purposeful and systemic organization of vaccination," the auditor general wrote.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) submitted a new vaccination plan to the government on July 8, but it is so far unpublished. 

Holm said the goals set in the vaccination plans are not clear or measurable and it is not clear what the plan is supposed to achieve.

For example, the plan approved in April stated that Estonia wants to achieve 70 percent vaccine coverage by the autumn, but does not give an exact deadline. It is also not clear if coverage means one or two doses.

There is also no plan for vaccinating critical groups such as 12-17 year olds or people living in Ida-Viru County.

"Vaccination targets must cover all critical target groups, and this document should be supplemented," Holm said.

He said the weekly vaccination review submitted to the government does not provide all the necessary information, such as if targets have been met.

Holm said the organization of vaccination has been rigid and flexible possibilities to increase the number of people vaccinated has not been used. He said more local opportunities should be created such as vaccination buses. The private sector should also be more involved.

"Various options for increasing vaccination opportunities have been offered in public, but in many cases they have been rejected by national level decision-makers. While there have been some proposals that are not suitable, many of the rejected proposals have been implemented after some time. The delay, however, has resulted in loss of time and trust," Holm said.

"The crisis caused by COVID-19 is a problem for society as a whole. Business operators are motivated to contribute voluntarily in order to avoid large-scale restrictions on economic activity and to keep society free of restrictions. The private sector has possibilities, resources and ideas to expand vaccination opportunities, and this resource needs to be used for the benefit of society," Holm argued.

Holm recommends making the vaccination plan more compact by excluding extensive background information from the plan and focusing on vaccination goals and how they are going to be achieved. 

At a cabinet meeting on June 17, the prime minister asked the auditor general for an opinion on the management of the crisis during the second wave of the coronavirus and proposals based on the lessons learned so far.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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