Estonian minister says found out about what happened in Health Board cold store by e-mail

  • 2021-07-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik, who explained recent events resulting in the spoilage of an extensive amount of vaccine doses in the cold storage unit of the Health Board to the state budget control select committee of the parliament on Friday, said that he found out about what happened from the director general of the Health Board via e-mail on the evening of June 25, the daily Postimees writes.

According to the minister, the initial information reached the Ministry of Social Affairs on the evening of June 25 by e-mail from Ullar Lanno, director general of the Health Board. After that, Kiik also asked the State Agency of Medicines for an assessment of the situation. However, the pessimism of the State Agency of Medicines' assessment became clear over the course of Monday. "The pessimism of the situation, or the scale of the problem, became clear when there was feedback from the experts of the State Agency of Medicines that we are talking about significant losses," Kiik said.

It was subsequently agreed that a press conference should be held. "As much information as there is should be made public," the minister said.

But then, Kiik confirmed that employees of the Health Board move between these cold stores. This involves a fixed procedure, which is valid on weekdays. "On weekends and holidays, medicines are not dispensed from the cold stores of the Health Board," Kiik added. He emphasized that the main problem was that the information systems did not work.

As soon as the employee discovered the increase in temperature on Friday, a technician from state real estate manager RKAS arrived and set everything right. "By the evening of June 25, the situation was estimated to have stabilized. And then in the early morning of the next day, a notification came to the Health Board that one cold store was broken," Kiik said.

He stressed that the morning of June 25 was too long a period for medicines and vaccines to have been without the right temperature.

The minister also had a log of what actually happened in the system. According to him, he sees that in fact there were still problems during the day of June 25. "By evening, one cold store had reached temperature more or less, the other was still below the norm. In both cases, I think there was doubt as to whether they worked then," Kiik said.

The minister added that there is no solution to the situation yet. "We do not yet know whether more serious repairs are needed or not. As one reached a stable temperature, but the other reached it and it still went high, therefore, those cooling devices whose operation changes over time cannot be trusted," Kiik added.