Health minister: We are considering additional motivators for the elderly

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center).
Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the government is considering additional vaccination motivators, especially when it comes to the elderly. He said many of Social Democratic MP Jevgeni Ossinovski's proposals have already been implemented.

Although Kiik did not point to any specific proposal, he told ERR that the government will discuss different motivators for parties in charge of organizing vaccinations and people that have not yet gotten vaccinated.

"It takes more resources to convince every next person to get vaccinated," Kiik said. "It is also certainly appropriate to consider additional motivators for people we expect to get vaccinated. No steps should be ruled out currently."

The minister said the approach of support measures is the correct one and added that additional motivators for elderly vaccination rates are most necessary.

"The specific proposal would need amendments, which take time and presuppose good cooperation from different parties of the parliament," Kiik said of Ossinovski's proposal of a free dental care voucher. "We must inevitably consider that some proposals can also get stuck if the governing opposition works against them."

The minister agreed that Estonia could also consider a one-time payment like Lithuania has done to motivate the pension-aged population. However, this would also need amendments to legislation.

"I consider equal treatment of people important. If we are talking about the elderly, then the right for supplemental aid must be for both those that have already gotten vaccinated - booster doses, for example - and for those who are going in for their first dose," Kiik said.

Kiik said Ossinovski's proposal of extending the Ministry of Social Affairs' communication department and drawing up a professional communication plan has already been implemented. The ministry is aided by the Government Office (Riigikantselei).

"I completely agree with what Jevgeni pointed out, the workload is very high," the health minister noted.

A third of the people that have not yet gotten vaccinated can be divided into three groups, according to Kiik. The first group are those who have already recovered from the coronavirus and can get vaccinated at a later date. The second group is made up of those that are skeptical against vaccines and need more time to consider it. It is exactly that group that family physicians and medical students are trying to get through to.

"Unfortunately, there is a certain part of the population that are fundamentally against vaccinations," Kiik added. "Different COVID-19 vaccine studies say they make up 10-15 percent (of the population - ed), they do not want to hear a thing about vaccinations. Convincing them is a greater challenge."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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