Vaccination coverage may never reach 70 percent
Given the current pace of first coronavirus vaccine doses, the vaccination coverage nationwide likely won't reach 70 percent this year. If some vaccinated people don't then get a booster shot, the effective vaccine coverage could even decrease on that figure.
One the final week of last year, only 3,077 people got their first vaccine dose, and even fewer the week before. Affective psychology associate professor at the University of Tartu Andero Uusberg says that the pace was inhibited by the holidays, and the subsidence of the autumn Covid wave.
"The dynamic of the first waves has been hand in hand with the virus waves. The interest in vaccination grew the most when the possibility to get vaccinated was opened for all people in May and June. Then the decline started and stopped in August when it was clear that the delta strain will reach Estonia," Uusberg said.
"We same the same dynamic from the second week of October when it was clear that the third wave will come. This increase in vaccination also more or less subsided with the third wave slowing down," he added.
As of now, when the infection rate is increasing with the omicron strain, it can be expected that more people will decide to vaccinate. The best result was on the last week of October when 14,000 doses were injected.
"The waves I have described are characterized by the fact that each subsequent wave has been lower than the previous wave of primary vaccination," Uusberg said.
Mathematician Krista Fischer also pointed out that the pace of getting the first doses has been slow since August. The hope of vaccinating 70 percent of the population may not be achieved at all.
"I do not rule out this possibility. Unfortunately, this may be the case. The omicron strain may catch quite a few people who have not been vaccinated at all. We have to hope that there will be as few serious cases as possible," Fischer said.
She added that the pace of booster shots is currently good. Uusberg stated that this may not stay like this.
"If we talk narrowly about vaccine coverage and define it as having the last recommended injection. Today, the recommendation is for most people whose course ended at least three months ago to get the third shot. If we talk about coverage that way, we're seeing a decline."
Uusberg added, however, that the proportion of the people immune to the virus is growing, as those who recover from the virus must also be taken into account.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino