Vaccination of children aged five to eleven against the coronavirus can commence in the second half of this month, following approval of the program by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The vaccination is voluntary and requires the dual consent of children and parents.
The ministry has not been able to give a precise start-date for the program, but has said that children in that age group will be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty product, which, it is reported contains one third the active substance than an adult vaccine.
As with adult vaccinations, the course consists of two doses, which will be administered six weeks apart, per the recommendation from the national immunoprophylaxis commission.
The vaccinations will take place at family doctors and in hospitals.
The ministry's undersecretary of health Heidi Alasepp said that: "We will start vaccinating our children in cooperation with family doctors and pediatricians, who can provide the safest and most familiar environment possible for children and parents.
"It is important to us that both children and their parents feel comfortable, can ask their doctor questions and find encouragement," Alasepp continued via a press release.
Le Vallikivi, head of the Estonian Society of General Practitioners (Eesti Perearstide Selts) said that: "Family doctors are very pleased that children will have the opportunity to be protected against the coronavirus."
"As children and young people can also become seriously ill and suffer from complications long after they have recovered, we strongly recommend that you take the vaccination option," Vallikivi added, also via a press release.
The ministry stresses that the decision to vaccinate children is a joint one by parents and children.
Pfizer/BioNTech says it will deliver the first batch of 36,000 doses of its vaccine for 5-11 year olds mid-month, with a further 54,000 doses expected in January, ERR reports.
Parents can book an appointment by contacting the child's family doctor, or via the digital registry with those doctors registered there.
Vaccination times can be booked when the first vaccines have arrived in Estonia later this month, and once they have been distributed to family doctor centers and hospitals.
The immunoprophylaxis committee made its recommendation on vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years at the end of last month.
The rationale was to reduce the risk of coronavirus and its spread, including from children to their relatives, and serious illness and complications which can arise from the virus.
Additional information on vaccinating children can be found on the Vaktsineeri.ee site in English, here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte