Vaccination at home program tangled up behind logistics

Covid vaccination.
Covid vaccination. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

At the end of April, nursing providers started vaccinating people with reduced mobility at home. Although the option still exists, those who want it do not know whether the vaccine will reach them in a week, or several months, since the organization of the program can get disturbed by logistical issues.

Maivi Parv, a member of the Board of the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa, or the EHIF), explained that, if necessary, home vaccination is carried out either by family doctors themselves or by the EHIF's cooperation partners who provide home nursing services.

Both must order vaccines, but waiting times must be taken into account. "As a rule, vaccines are delivered to every point every week," Parv said.

One of the EHIF's partners who carries out vaccinations at home is Koduõde. Aili Külvi, head of nursing, said that they have done about 250 injections since May, but there has been a stop in vaccination for the last two weeks due to a lack of applicants.

Individual applicants have been put on hold for an unknown period of time for logistical reasons. If one vial of vaccine is opened, five injections should be given within two hours.

"At the moment, one person is waiting in [Tallinn] in Kopli and one in Pääsküla," Külvi said, illustrating the problem. "You can't reach different parts of the city in two hours."

Külvi said that unfortunately, a single applicant has to wait until a sufficient number of people near him or her wish to receive the vaccine. However, the waiting time cannot be predicted. As an alternative, Külvi was able to offer another vaccination option.

Kati Kattai from Tallinn said that her 94-year-old father, who lives in the city center, has been waiting for the vaccine at home since January, when family doctors started compiling lists of people in need. In June, the family was contacted and offered the opportunity to be vaccinated, which was not suitable for them at that time.

Kattai explained that the father's caregiver had contacted both the family doctor and the helpline 1247 to resolve the situation, but had heard in response that the vaccine was not available and could not be obtained. It has also not been possible to explain to him where he should find a solution to his questions and concerns at all.

Parv said that the situation with home vaccination is not problematic at the moment, but admits that some people have had to wait for the injection for a month.

Due to supply difficulties with the single-dose Janssen vaccine, the EHIF decided to allow vaccination with Moderna at home.

"The Moderna vaccine is now also suitable for home vaccination, in this respect, the vaccine's leaflet was specified this week," Parv explained. However, in the conversation with ERR on Tuesday, Külvi said she had not heard of such an opportunity.

In the last three months, 1,840 people have received the EHIF's request to receive the vaccine at home, of whom almost 80 percent have received an injection. Parv said that the EHIF does not currently have an overview of how many vaccines family doctors have injected at homes.

"What is important for a person to know: if someone needs to be vaccinated at home, they should inform their family doctor, who will either arrange the vaccination themselves or refer them to a home nursing service provider," Parv said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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