TALLINN - The main concern for the authorities in Estonia when it comes to vaccination for COVID now is that vaccination rates among the elderly are not the best, Heidi Alasepp, deputy secretary general for health at the Ministry of Social Affairs, told Postimees.
"I'm glad to see that progress is quietly being made and that vaccination coverage with two doses is over 70 percent in the 60+ age group, but the problem is the booster dose," Alasepp said.
The country's top health official said that all older people, as well as those younger ones for whom the time has come, should get the booster dose as soon as possible, as it gives much, much greater protection against infection, serious illness and death. She explained that vaccines, once injected, do not work forever and that over time our body loses immunity and the booster dose is there to rebuild the body's resistance to the virus.
The Health Board meanwhile has issued special warnings for the 60+ age group, who should refrain from using public transport during peak hours, crowded shopping centers and event, as the spread of the infection is again very high.
As of the beginning of this week, there were a total of 62,500 older people in Estonia without a valid COVID certificate, meaning that they either had never contracted COVID and recovered, had never vaccinated, had not completed their vaccination course, had had the disease more than six months ago, or more than nine months had passed since they were last vaccinated.
Alasepp said that as a medical doctor, she would never have thought that vaccination would be such a big problem.
"I myself was very happy when the vaccine came, it seemed like we were going to beat the pandemic. But when I saw that people weren't actually vaccinating, it was a shock," she said.
According to the official, what we need to do now is keep ourselves safe. There will be a time when the virus is gone and we can start moving about without a mask again, but today is not the right time to do it, as we are approaching the peak of the fourth wave.