Family physician vaccination drive costs government €5 million

Coronavirus vaccine in progress.
Coronavirus vaccine in progress. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The government allocated €5 million to family physicians to promote vaccinations. The two-week drive will wrap up this Friday, but physicians will continue to increase vaccinations and patients may have to deal with slightly longer queues for regular treatments.

The two-week vaccination drive resulted in a surprising amount of people coming in to get their first vaccine dose. More than 14,000 people received a vaccine in the first week of the drive, a record number going back at least eight weeks. At the same time, convincing those unsure about the vaccine is getting more and more complicated, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday.

"The drive will wrap up, but we will certainly not end primary level vaccinations," head of the Estonian Family Medicine Association Le Vallikivi said, adding that she is pleased with the results of the family physician vaccination drive.

The €5 million from the state's coffers will be distributed to family physician centers based on eight criteria, which has been drawn up by the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Health Insurance Fund and the Family Medicine Association.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the financing model looks at the total rate of vaccination coverage in the physician's patient list, vaccination rate by age group, how much the vaccination rate increases in the fall-winter period and what have been the other actions physicians have conducted to promote vaccinations.

Since Estonia's current coronavirus situation is critical, getting to a regular family physician visit can become a little more complicated from next week. Le Vallikivi said physicians will certainly not leave people helpless.

"We have many things we have already agreed to. We will not leave these undone and there are things that we have already confirmed to delay," the physician said.

Vallikivi said regular health checks for children under the age of two and the elderly can be delayed some. "And the chronically ill patients who are stable, have medication at home and are not time-sensitive. But if you work as a driver and your license will end tomorrow and need a health certificate, we will try to get that figured out as fast as possible," the physician said.

Vallikivi said centers will continue to monitor coronavirus indicators to see when delaying visits and procedures can end. "I would not be too optimistic on the topic. Red might turn to purple or black or any other ugly color in the upcoming weeks and months," she said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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