The government decided at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that in addition to the elderly and care home residents, COVID-19 vaccine booster doses will also be administered to workers in the healthcare, social work and education sectors. The third doses will be administered at least six months after the first vaccine process is completed.
"We will allow booster dose vaccinations to healthcare, social and education workers six months after their vaccination process is completed to allow them to be protected as they are the people most in contact with risk groups," said Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center).
On Tuesday, the immunoprophylaxis expert committee recommended booster doses be administered to care home residents and people aged 65 and up. Third doses will be available to the rest of the adult population eight months after their initial vaccination process is completed.
Regardless of the vaccine the person has been administered, the committee recommends using the Pfizer/BioNTech for booster doses, which was approved by the European Medicines Agency on October 4.
Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) announce that school nurses will also be given the right to vaccinate adults, which will allow for teachers to get vaccinated in schools.
"Our goal is to keep schools open safely for as long as possible. There are a total of 77 school outbreaks this week, unvaccinated students are mostly infected, but there have been vaccinated teachers, as well. We started vaccinating education workers in the end of February, this means it has been six months and we see that even vaccinated workers in schools get infected because the vaccine efficacy has decreased," the minister said.
Kersna added that teachers are in constant contact with students that are not vaccinated and the coronavirus is spreading fast among young people and children. "Teachers need maximum protection," the education minister said.
Kersna noted that a third of teachers are aged 60 and up, half of Estonian teachers are older than 50. She emphasized, however, that the rate of teacher vaccinations has limited the spread of COVID-19 in schools. "Of the 77 school outbreaks, 45 have seen zero to three teachers get infected," Kersna said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste