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From next autumn Covid vaccines free only to those in at-risk groups

COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine. Source: Focal Foto/CC BY-NC 2.0

Covid vaccines for those not belonging to at-risk groups will cease to be free in Estonia from next September.

ERR reports that statistics show 81 percent of patients hospitalized due to Covid are over the age of 60, while 93 percent of these in turn are reportedly unvaccinated, pointing to one at-risk group.

Those with health issues such as weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses are also generally identified as being at risk.

Janna Jäe, who heads up the state Health Insurance Fund's (Haigekaassa) inoculation service, spoke about the decision to Vikerraadio show "Reporteritund."

Jäe said: "If we talk more broadly, as things stand we also have nationally prescribed influenza vaccination program available solely for risk groups, which covers a certain number of people."

"We are planning to take the same direction with the Covid vaccination, as we are currently seeing that vaccination is the most important factor, especially for risk groups. We will deliver based on these recommendations, but the discussions are still ongoing," she went on.

The move has been made both due to cost reasons and to the fact that it is at-risk groups by their very definition who suffer more seriously as a result of contracting Covid.

"Above all, the recommendation certainly stems from the fact that we see that it is people within the risk groups who fall seriously ill and require hospital treatment, so their vaccination must certainly be guaranteed by the state," Jäe added.

Jäe was unable to put a figure on the cost of getting a Covid vaccine from next September to people who are not in the risk groups, adding that it may well be on a par with that of 'flu vaccines, which on average cost up to €22 per shot.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Reporteritund,' reporter Arp Müller.

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