Coronavirus infection rate rising as pace of vaccination slows

Coronavirus vaccines at East-Tallinn Central Hospital.
Coronavirus vaccines at East-Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

The number of new coronavirus cases is steadily rising in Estonia while the number of people getting vaccinated for the first time has stalled. Fewer than 67 percent of adults are vaccinated.

While the number of people being treated in hospitals is still much lower than it was at the start of the year, the number of new infections has reached the same level.

There has also been an increase in the number of deaths in recent weeks. On Tuesday, nine deaths were reported - the highest for several months. All were unvaccinated.

"It can be seen that the infection rate has also started to increase among the elderly, and especially among those over 80," Hanna Sepp, head of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Health Board, told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday. 

"This is a very worrying fact and it will certainly affect our hospital care capacity. If we look at those over 80, about a third of infections are in care homes," she said.

Sepp said the rate is still high in Southern Estonia and is now rising in Harju and Ida-Viru counties. As Harju County is the most populated region in Estonia, a rapid spread of covid-19 will have a big impact on the health care system.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the number of vaccinations is falling. The goal is still to have 70 percent of the population vaccinated with two doses and family doctors are being encouraged to counsel patients.

Despite the vaccination rate, it is thought about 80 percent of the population has antibodies from coronavirus - either having recovered or been vaccinated.

But Kiik said for restrictions to be removed completely this needs to be higher. 

"The government has not decided on a specific limit. Their position is that first 70 percent of adults should be vaccinated, but it is also important to look at the protection of at-risk groups, which must be higher," he told AK.

There are no plans to bring in new restrictions, he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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