Estonia to request more than 660,000 additional doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine under EU joint procurement scheme
At a meeting held today, the members of the Cabinet of Ministers supported the proposal of Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik to request an additional 660,552 doses of vaccine from contracts signed with the vaccine manufacturer Pfizer/BioNTech. With the gradual arrival of additional doses in Estonia, it will be possible to increase the pace of vaccination starting from the second quarter compared to what was previously planned.
‘Due to the spread of the coronavirus, which has intensified in recent weeks, we are forced to establish additional restrictions to reduce contacts between people, but in order to reduce cases of serious illness, it is also important to proceed with rapid vaccination,’ stated Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik. ‘The main obstacle to progress in our vaccination efforts has thus far been the limited supply of vaccines in Estonia as well as uncertainties in deliveries, both of which will ease in the second quarter of the year. We are currently engaged in discussions at the level of the European Union wherein we will be able to request additional quantities of vaccines for Estonia. We will be taking this opportunity to speed up vaccination.’
As of this morning, 150,080 vaccinations have been performed in Estonia, wherein 105,845 people have been administered at least one dose of a vaccine and 44,235 people have received both doses. Single-dose COVID-19 vaccination coverage currently stands at 8% in Estonia.
The European Commission signed the principal contract with Pfizer/BioNTech in November, from which Estonia applied for a principal quantity of 603,876 and an additional quantity of 100,000 doses of vaccine. As of now, the European Commission has signed an additional contract with the vaccine manufacturer, from which Estonia is applying for a principal quantity of 250,000 and an additional quantity of 100,000 doses. The EU Steering Committee for the Joint Procurement of COVID-19 Vaccines is currently holding discussions for the partial redistribution of the originally requested quantities between Member States and for the revision of delivery schedules. This gives Estonia the opportunity to apply for an increase of the previously approved quantities. Under today’s resolution, Estonia will be requesting an additional 660,552 doses of vaccine from the contracts signed with Pfizer/BioNTech, provided that deliveries of the additional doses will begin in the second quarter.
In total, the vaccines to be delivered under the contracts with Pfizer/BioNTech will enable approximately 857,214 people to be vaccinated.
The European Union’s vaccine portfolio currently includes vaccines from eight manufacturers (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, CureVac, Sanofi, Novavax, and Valneva). To date, Estonia has joined five pre-purchase agreements from the EU’s COVID-19 vaccine joint procurement scheme: for vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, and CureVac. With the recent addition of the Valneva vaccine to the EU’s common vaccine portfolio, Estonia will be able to purchase a total of 5,229,362 doses of vaccine, which is enough for 2,764,681 people.
The objectives of the COVID-19 vaccination efforts are to protect at-risk groups of the population, who have a higher risk of becoming infected or developing severe illness from COVID-19; to prevent and reduce COVID-19-related illnesses and deaths; to reduce the burden on the health care system and the economy; and to ensure the normal functioning of society.
For official information about COVID-19 vaccination in Estonia, visit the website www.vaktsineeri.ee/en/.
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