Estonia has enough flu medication, vaccines — agency

Patient receiving a flu vaccine.
Patient receiving a flu vaccine. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Estonia has enough influenza medicines and vaccines for this winter, the Agency of Medicines said on Wednesday. Approximately 100,000 doses of flu vaccines have been allocated for the elderly and children.

Family doctor Piret Rospu told "Aktuaalne kaamera" Estonia's flu season started early this year and is already in "full force". Cases have grown rapidly, but the peak has not yet been reached.

She said drugs should currently be reserved for risk groups, such as young children, pregnant women or the elderly, as there are not enough.

Additionally, as reported earlier this week, children's medicine is already running low in pharmacies across the country, due to a higher-than-usual spike in respiratory viruses.

But Liis Prii, head of the supervision department of the Agency of Medicines, said there are no problems with influenza medication supplies.

"Manufacturers have planned to ship 27,000 packs of flu medicines to Estonia this season, 15,000 of which are already in Estonia. Flu medicines are available in pharmacies and wholesalers," said Prii.

Medicine and a thermometer (photo is illustrative). Source: Karin Koppel

She said three different flu medicines are currently on sale and there are also 1,000 packages of Tamiflu in warehouses waiting to be delivered.

Asked about the recommendation to reserve medication for risk groups, Prii said it is mainly intended for risk groups and those with chronic diseases as they will be the most severely affected.

However, she said the agency has not made any recommendations about who should or should not receive medicine. Doctors decide on their patients' courses of treatment.

But the agency encouraged people to get vaccinated and this year's vaccine has a 60 percent effectiveness. In previous years it has been below 20 percent.

"There is already data from America that this year's flu vaccine has a high protection rate. Now is exactly the right time to vaccinate," Dr Rospu added.

Several elderly people have already died from influenza in Estonia this year. Last week, new cases rose by 245 percent.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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