Pace of vaccination remains unchanged in Estonia

The pace of inoculating people with the first shot of vaccine has stabilized over the past month – differences in daily vaccination figures are minute. Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said that the pace remains stable because of two primary factors and that even the currently sedentary pace is enough to vaccinate around 70 percent of adults with at least one dose by fall. That`s due to EU policy or due to stable supplies of vaccine?

“The pace of vaccination depends on two main parameters: deliveries and second doses,” the minister said, adding that Estonia has vaccinated around 60,000 people a week for the last three weeks.

The ministry aims to maintain the same pace this week. Half of doses will be administered as people’s second shot.

This would put the number of people inoculated with at least a single dose at half a million.

Will Estonia achieve 70 percent of adult vaccination coverage in a situation where vaccination has not picked up speed and the pace is estimated to stay the same?

“Of course. We have progressed by 3 percent a week in terms of vaccinating adults,” Kiik said. He added that around 70 percent of the adult population should be inoculated with at least one dose in two months’ time.

Demand for second dose to spike in July

“Some second doses will have to be administered in September,” Kiik added.

It is impossible to rely on more accurate forecasts in the near future as the Ministry of Social Affairs cannot be certain of vaccine deliveries and continued public interests in vaccination.

Data from the digital registration system reveals that there are currently 50,000 bookings for the first vaccine shot all over Estonia.

Vaccination centers are open, in addition to Tallinn, in Tartu, Pärnu, Rakvere, Jõhvi and Narva. The Tondiraba Ice Rink vaccination center is set to open on June 8 and stay open until August 4. Another new vaccination center will be opened in the Sõle Sports Hall on June 21 and remain open until September 5.

Head of the Covid vaccination working group Marek Seer said that demand will be considerable in July, especially as concerns second doses. Center will also continue administering first doses.

He added that more accurate demand cannot be forecast because both continued public interest and vaccine deliveries remain unknown.

Could the current pace of vaccination be quickened in any way? Seer said it is possible.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine remains the most popular one of the reasons for which is that it is the most available. Estonia has administered around 168,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the last four months, followed by 28,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, 28,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 11,200 doses of the Janssen vaccine.

Estonia is set to take delivery of 63,390 doses of vaccine this week: 54,990 doses of Pfizer and 8,400 doses of Moderna. Next week will bring 52,030 doses of vaccine, including 45,630 doses of Pfizer and 8,400 doses of Moderna. Janssen Pharmaceuticals said that no new doses will arrive this week and the next, while Pfizer dialed back its next week’s delivery by 10,000 doses.

Confido not to participate in new mass vaccination campaigns

Early April saw major quantities of vaccines administered at vaccination drives, while the age group targeted only demonstrated lukewarm interest. The drive was open to people born in 1956-1960 and those born in 1961 and before and who also belong to Covid risk groups.

On a particular day, a Confido vaccination center also made vaccines available to everyone at least 30 years of age. The decision was sharply condemned by the Health Insurance Fund and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

“We opened the very first vaccination center in Sõle. We will now be administering the second doses of people we vaccinated in April. And that will be the size of it. We will not be opening any more vaccination centers,” Kadi Lambot, head of the Confido Medical Center, said.

Confido realized that the Health Insurance Fund had enough prospective locations and decided not to stick its nose in. “But we will be administering the second doses of our patients,” she said.

Asked why the decision not to continue as a vaccination center, Marek Seer said that the center will simply be participating in a different capacity. “They can administer vaccines in other ways, when we are no longer relying on the vaccination center model,” he explained.

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