TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who made a political statement in the Riigikogu on Monday, said that unvaccinated people in particular need protection in the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kallas said that during the first wave it was enough to issue recommendations that people keep a distance from each other. "During the second wave, more was known about the virus and people were braver, as most did not fall ill or did not suffer from it very severely," she said.
"By now, vaccines are available to everyone and the majority have also contributed to protecting themselves and society. And now, thanks to vaccination, there has been a change in the third wave as to who is the minority we foremost protect. While in the first two waves, the elderly needed the most protection, then now in the third wave, the people who have not been vaccinated are in particular need of protection," Kallas said.
The prime minister pointed out that in May the European Commission conducted a Eurobarometer survey on attitudes towards vaccination. "And when you compare it with the levels that countries have now reached with vaccination, it is surprising how it correlates with what was forecast in the spring Eurobarometer survey. We, too, have stayed exactly where one could predict in May based on people's attitudes. The spring forecast said we would come to a stop at 58 percent, and that is the case at the moment," she said.
Kallas said that according to research by behavioral scientists, those still unvaccinated include people firmly against vaccination and those who are hesitant. "Anti-vaccine people are confident in their beliefs and no matter what anyone does or says, they will not make them change their minds. However, we can try to persuade those who are hesitant," the prime minister said.
The government leader also said that there are many myths about vaccines and the coronavirus. "One of them is that vaccines do not really protect, because people who are vaccinated also die. It is true that the vaccine does not make anyone immortal. The more people who have been vaccinated, the more deaths there will be among those who have been vaccinated. But vaccines help save lives. Comparing the data, we see that unvaccinated people are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized, unvaccinated 60+ people are three times more likely to die," Kallas said.
"Unvaccinated people infected with COVID-19 are more contagious than vaccinated people, they suffer more severely and are more likely to stay in hospital for longer. We mainly have unvaccinated people in hospitals," Kallas added.