TALLINN – The social affairs committee of the Estonian parliament on Tuesday met with representatives of relevant organizations, according to whom the availability of flu vaccines in Estonia was affected by the pan-European shortage of medicines, and ordering medicines earlier would help prevent problems in the coming years.
According to Tonis Molder, chairman of the social affairs committee, the problems that arose in mid-October with the distribution of influenza vaccine to family doctors and pharmacies are in the process of being resolved by now. "This situation, where the vaccine is not available to everyone, cannot happen again. As is known, the influenza virus has not yet been registered in Estonia this year and the incidence has been low throughout Europe. This is probably due to people's health awareness in relation to the coronavirus and the general trend in recent years, according to which influenza vaccination is on the rise across Europe," Molder said in a press release.
Molder added that earlier and more coordinated planning would help prevent potential blunders next year. "The needs for next year should be identified as early as possible -- start determining it already now and the Ministry of Social Affairs must include the organization of information exchange in its work schedule. Pharmaceutical wholesalers would like to know about the next flu season as early as February," he said.
Deputy chair of the committee, Helmen Kutt, said that this year's situation concerning the vaccine was the result of a combination of different situations and there is no point in pointing the finger at anyone. "It does not mean that we should accept the situation. Fortunately, state-subsidized vaccination of some risk groups has been carried out in the last few years, but it does not solve or affect in any way the situation on the private market," she said.
Kutt added that vaccine shortages of previous years have been alleviated by surpluses in other countries, but in the present case there were no surpluses. "So, in order to prevent future crises, the only way really is to start planning for the coming years and placing orders as early as possible," Kutt said.