Health minister opposes additional restrictions for unvaccinated people
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Tuesday that she supports implementing additional restrictions on unvaccinated people, such as moving unvaccinated people down the queue in case scheduled treatments are limited. Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) is not in favor of this idea, however.
Kiik told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday evening that medical treatment needs to be provided to everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
Kallas said she supports additional restrictions for those unvaccinated. She pointed out an example and said unvaccinated people could be moved down the queue for surgeries if scheduled treatments are suspended.
Kiik said the Estonian healthcare system is solidary and no distinctions will be made between those in need. "Just like we do not ask a cancer patient if they went to screening in time, did they smoke, did they drink. We do not ask people with cardiovascular diseases if they live healthy lifestyles," the health minister responded.
"A solidary healthcare system is based on the knowledge of paying taxes, health insurance and getting help when it is necessary," Kiik added.
He said the government is discussing a support scheme to motivate people to get vaccinated. Social Democratic Party member and former health minister Jevgeni Ossinovski wrote an opinion piece (link in Estonian) on Tuesday, in which he states that every pension-aged person who gets vaccinated, could be granted €250 in dental money.
"We have discussed this idea, family physicians have proposed this kind of dental care benefit or a similar measure. I think the approach of support measures is the correct one and it should be done through measures and actions that support health," Kiik said.
The health minister said the proposed support scheme would require amendments to the law, but smaller measures can be implemented without changes. "We are supporting care homes and local municipality governments. But the support measure package must be extended, because it is hard to get that final part of the population vaccinated," Kiik said.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste