More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).

Vaccination in Estonia

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Herd immunity is usually calculated based on the infection multiplyer R (how many people will one sick person infect). If R is low, the percentage of vaccinated persons can be low as well. In the case of the coronavirus, the necessary critical mass is estimated to be about 70% of the society. If more severe strains that infect faster (the British strain) or can infect vaccinated people as well (the Brazilian strain) occur, this percentage goes up. For measles, the R-rate is about 15, thus herd immunity for measles requires 95% of people to be vaccinated.

As children will not be getting vaccinated in the near future, the main onus for reaching herd immunity will fall on responsible adults.

Read more: https://www.ut.ee/et/teadus/teadlaste-vastused-koroonakusimustele (in Estonian).

Last updated: 08.04.2021 16:07

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The vaccine itself definitely does not contain anything that could cause coronavirus. The vaccine contains only very particular virus particles, not the whole virus.

Thus it is unfortunately unclear where the vaccinated person got the disease. The incubation period of the virus is 2-12 days, so it cannot be ruled out that the person came into contact with the virus more than a week before receiving the first dose of the vaccine, or even on the day of vaccination. It could have taken place at the hospital or any other place that the person happened to be at (public transport, store, elevator, public toilet, and other public places).

Unfortunately five days is not enough time for the vaccine to already offer protection. The test data from the Phase III trials of Pfizer show that infection rates among the vaccinated started to noticeably decrease only 12 days after receiving the first shot. The maximum protection only occurs a week after receiving the second dose.

Last updated: 08.04.2021 16:06

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Log into the national digital register (www.digiregistratuur.ee or www.digilugu.ee).

Authenticate yourself either with Smart-ID, Mobile-ID or ID card.

If you are in the target group of people currently getting vaccinated, a notification of that will appear on the opening page upon logging in.

You will automatically move to the search view of open appointments, if the healthcare service provider has made their appointments public.

After finding a suitable appointment, you can book it through the national digital registration.

Make certain to be on time for your vaccination appointment or let the vaccinating institution know at first chance if you will not be able to go to your agreed upon vaccination for some reason.

Last updated: 25.03.2021 11:08

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Starting from March 15, 2021, the recommendation of the state Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee is to administer the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine 12 weeks after the initial dose. Upon agreement with the vaccinator or the vaccinating institution, it is possible to postpone the appointment for receiving the second dose from the initially arranged time to 12 weeks.

Last updated: 23.03.2021 11:20

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Estonia recognises the vaccinations that are recognised by the person’s country of. There is no separate way to register vaccinations received in other countries but the vaccination status of a person does need to be proven on the border.

Last updated: 16.03.2021 16:48

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Estonia is participating in the joint EU procurement for buying the coronavirus vaccines. This guarantees the availability of the vaccines for us, as most of the countries in the world are acquiring these vaccines and we would be a very small buyer alone. A bigger volume of orders gives a bigger lever, considering the current complicated situation and big demand, and will ensure the availability.

The joint European Union vaccine portfolio contains vaccines and vaccine candidates of seven vaccine manufacturers. The European Commission has signed pre-purchase agreements with the following vaccine manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac and Moderna. Estonia has currently joined the pre-purchase agreements with five vaccine manufacturers -- AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac and Moderna. Estonia has the possibility of joining the Sanofi pre-purchase agreements later. Additionally, negotioations are under way between the European Commission and the vaccine manufacturer Novavax. At the request of several member states, negotiations have also begun with the vaccine manufacturer Valneva.

With the Pfizer/BioNTech agreement, Estonia will acquire COVID-19 vaccine for about 325,000 people, with the AstraZeneca agreement for about 665,000 people, with the Jannsen Pharmaceutica NV agreement for about 300,000 people. The distribution of the vaccine volumes of the vaccine manufacturers Curevac and Moderna is still being specified, but Estonia is applying for pro rata (according to the population as a percentage of the EU total population) volumes (Moderna 234,467; Curevac 659,383). According to the agreements, delivery of the vaccines to member states will start after the vaccine has obtained a marketing authorisation in the European Union.

Additionally, there are more than 200 vaccine candidates being developed in the world, and the European Union is doing everything so that vaccines would become available to all European Union citizens at the first possibility.

More inforomation: https://www.vaktsineeri.ee/en/covid19

Last updated: 17.03.2021 17:07

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The plan is to primarily use already working systems in organising the COVID-19 vaccination -- hospitals, care homes, family health centres. Other additional options that would allow achieving maximum coverage of vaccines in the wider population are also being considered.

Vaccinations can be administered by those doctors, nurses and midwives who have completed a basic training on immunization and a refresher training within the previous five years.

The organisation of vaccination might vary a bit in the future, depending on which vaccines pass all the tests and get marketing authorisations. Some of the vaccines require more specific transport and storage conditions, others allow for an easier organisation of vaccination.

Estonia has an agreement with the vaccine manufacturers that the vaccines will be delivered to the Health Board where the necessary vaccine storage conditions (including extremely low temperatures and following of the cold-chain requirements) are guaranteed. The Health Board will organise the internal distribution of the vaccine to the vaccination locations according to the vaccine distribution plan that is being drafted. Transport is guaranteed in a way that there will not be a need to create new and irregular storage conditions in vaccination locations. Even the most high maintenance vaccines can be stored in regular conditions for five days.

More information in the vaccination plan https://www.sm.ee/sites/default/files/news-related-files/covid-19_vaktsineerimise_plaan_19.01.pdf) (In Estonian)

Last updated: 17.03.2021 17:08

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It is possible to get information from your family physician and on the website eesti.ee. Information is also available on the Estonian Health Board website www.vaktsineeri.ee.

If you do not have a family physician, it is possible to contact Margit Toop at the Health Board (telephone: 650 9843, Margit.Toop@terviseamet.ee), or Andrei Petuhhov regarding changing your family physician if you speak English or Russian (telephone: 794 3572, Andrei.Petuhhov@terviseamet.ee)

More information https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/tervishoid/inimesele/perearsti-valimine-ja-vahetamine and https://www.haigekassa.ee/perearstile-registreerumine-ja-perearsti-vahetamine

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:42

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If there is an opportunity to get vaccinated, you will be notified by your family doctor (if you are in a risk group) or institution (if you are a healthcare or social care facility worker, provider of essential services, or a front line worker).

People will also be informed of an opportunity to get vaccinated through general channels of notification. If you are in a risk group who is invited to get vaccinated through public channels of notification, you will get an opportunity to register for a vaccination at the patient portal www.digilugu.ee or at a phone number indicated in the notification information.

Last updated: 23.03.2021 11:21

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The choice between the vaccines of different manufacturers will become possible after enough quantities of vaccines have reached Estonia for there to be something to choose between.

Additionally, the indications and contraindications might differ somewhat between the vaccines of different manufacturers and in that case the person administering the vaccine will choose the suitable one.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:12

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There is no need to do a SARS-CoV-2 test before vaccination. The vaccination does not have a negative impact on the patient's health condition and being positive for COVID-19 does not lessen the effect of the vaccine.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:12

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Every person who is vaccinated is important in preventing the virus from spreading. The percentage needed to achieve herd immunity in the world is not yet clear, as many vaccine candidates are still in the process of being authorised and research is still ongoing.

It is also not known at this time how long the immune protection provided by vaccination will last - studies are also ongoing.

In addition, since no clinical trials have been carried out among children then it also reduces the percentage of the population that could be vaccinated.

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:42

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Based on the available data, the experts are on the position that the post-vaccination immunity will last at least 6 months. The studies are ongoing, however, and more data is coming in which is letting us believe that the actual immunity will last longer. There is currently not enough data about the necessity of repeat vaccinations, the studies on that are ongoing for well.

Last updated: 16.03.2021 16:25

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Vaccinations are voluntary in Estonia and the same will also apply for COVID-19 vaccinations.

At the same time, vaccinating against COVID-19 is recommended and each vaccination will contribute to the normalization of the current situation and, similarly to other vaccinations, makes it possible to also protect those who cannot get vaccinated themselves.

Currently we cannot yet speak about having to provide proof of vaccination when travelling or whether other restrictions could be implemented. These discussions are still in first stages, including at the international and EU level.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:13

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Today, the people who are fully vaccinated and the people who have had the coronavirus are exempt from the self-isolation requirement after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive case, i.e. after they have been a close contact, but a mask must be worn during the close contact period. Also, the people who have had the virus or are fully vaccinated do not need to do tests after crossing the state border, or stay in quarantine at home after they enter another country or return home.

Last updated: 16.03.2021 16:35

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Vaccination is voluntary in Estonia. Enabling vaccination in the workplace is one of the possible measures taken by the employer to ensure the safety of the working environment and the protection of the employees´ health, but vaccination cannot be the only way to prevent getting infected with biological risk factors.

If an employee refuses to get vaccinated, the employer can:

  • anticipate and take other measures that can mitigate the risks - for example, additional personal protective equipment, collective protective equipment, etc. The employer therefore has a responsibility primarily to assess whether, for example, the health of the customer service provider and customers can be protected by other measures, such as the obligation to wear a mask, disinfecting hands, using a plexiglass, reducing direct contacts, more frequent surface cleaning and other measures.

  • if necessary, reorganise the work for the specific section of the work or for specific employees. If the parties reach an agreement on the reorganisation of work, the terms of the employment contract (for example, change of duties) can only be changed by agreement of both parties on the basis of § 12 of the Employment Contracts Act.

If the results of the risk assessment of the work environment show that vaccination is particularly important in certain sectors or activities (e.g. health care, nursing homes) and that other measures are not effective enough to protect the health of the employees or clients and patients, then vaccination may be justified.

Vaccination alone may not be helpful in ensuring employee safety, and risk mitigation measures often need to be applied simultaneously.

Last updated: 17.03.2021 17:08

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The employee is generally not obliged to share their health data with the employer, including information about vaccination. The employer has the right to ask the employee for confirmation that the employee's state of health does not hinder the performance of work duties and does not pose a danger to other employees or customers. In particular, the employer has the right to ask about the employee's vaccination in justified cases, if the results of the risk assessment of the work environment show that vaccination is one of the possible measures to prevent infection in the given position and to perform work tasks safely in the future. Although the employer has the right to ask about vaccination in certain cases, the employee has the right to refuse to share the relevant information with the employer.

Co-operation between the employee and the employer is important to prevent the spread of the virus. The employer must take into account in the risk assessment and the measures taken that vaccination may be one of the possible means of ensuring the safety of the working environment and the health of the worker, but the employer cannot oblige the worker to provide vaccination data or to get vaccinated. If the results of the risk assessment of the working environment show that vaccination is particularly important in certain sectors or activities (eg health care, nursing homes) and that other measures are not effective enough to protect the health of workers or clients / patients, vaccination may be justified. It is important that the employer informs the employee of the results of the risk analysis and justifies why vaccination is important in this position.

In a situation where the employer, based on the results of the risk assessment of the work environment, asks the employee for information about their vaccination status or offers vaccination to the employee, but the employee refuses to provide information related to vaccination or refuses to get vaccinated, the employer can:

  • anticipate and take other measures that can mitigate the risks - for example, additional personal protective equipment, collective protective equipment, etc. The employer therefore has a particular responsibility to assess whether, for example, the health of the customer service provider and customers can be protected by other measures, such as the obligation to wear a mask, hand disinfection, plexiglass, direct contact reduction, more frequent surface cleaning and other measures;

  • if necessary, reorganise the work or the part of the task performed by the employee. If the parties reach an agreement on the reorganisation of work, the terms of the employment contract (for example, change of duties) can only be changed by agreement of the parties on the basis of § 12 of the Employment Contracts Act.

If the employer is not reasonably able to reorganise the work or take other measures to effectively mitigate the risks, the employer may have the right to terminate the employment relationship with the employee pursuant to § 88 (1) 2) of the Employment Contracts Act due to unsuitability to perform the tasks. Subsection (3) of the same section also obliges the employer to provide a warning in advance, ie to give the employee the opportunity to reconsider vaccination by a specific deadline, and only when it is definitively clear that the employee does not want to be vaccinated, then the contract may be terminated pursuant to § 88 para 1 point 2 of the Employment Contracts Act.

The employer must consider the risk assessment also in changed circumstances (eg in the event of a reduction in the spread of coronavirus).

Last updated: 04.01.2021 10:06

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EU joint procurement contracts provide for a fixed number of vaccine doses to be allocated to EU Member States, to be distributed among the Member States on a pro rata basis (percentage of the total EU population), unless otherwise agreed. Estonia's pro rata amount of the EU population is 0.3%. Vaccine doses are gradually delivered to the Member States by the manufacturer in smaller deliveries, with total deliveries fixed across the EU. The quantities of deliveries shall also be apportioned among the Member States proportionally.

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:44

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Starting from February 2, the people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, or have had the coronavirus within the last six months and been declared recovered by a doctor do not have to self-isolate as a close contact or after crossing the border. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature their work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still get infected with or spread COVID-19.

Last updated: 01.02.2021 14:16

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The provider of health care services has an obligation to document a vaccination according to the requirements and forward the data to the Health Information System. If you have been vaccinated in Estonia, it is possible to see your own immunization data and, if necessary, print them out from the digilugu.ee portal (immunization notification, epicrisis). It is also possible to prove vaccination with an immunization passport, that can be issued on paper by the provider of health care services.

People who have been vaccinated while abroad can prove their vaccination by presenting an immunization passport, its copy, or a relevant certificate, that contains, in Latin or Slavic alphabet and in Estonian, Russian or English, among other things, the personal information of the person immunized, e.g. the disease against which the immunization was done, the date of the immunization, the immunization agent that was used, its lot number, the dosage administered, how many doses have been administered to the person, and the name and other data of the provider of the immunization. The proof can also be an officially certified printout from a database of another country.

Last updated: 08.02.2021 13:52

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Persons who get vaccinated at their family physician's office will, upon request, be issued an immunisation passport in paper format by the family physician. Immunisation passports are issued free of charge.

Many people will already have received an immunisation passport in the past. If you are one of them, please take it with you when you go out to get vaccinated.

Last updated: 11.02.2021 09:30

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Having had COVID-19 does not guarantee that you will not get infected or have the disease in an asymptomatic or symptomatic form. Even a person who has already had COVID-19 can get infected repeatedly and transmit the disease. Wearing a mask, social distancing and other infection safety precautions must continue to be kept up in the near future, until it will be possible to declare the COVID-19 epidemic finished.

In addition to the current COVID-19 disease epidemic we must also look further to the future. In order to be ready for the coming epidemiological challenges as well, the behaviour patterns that help prevent the spread of infectious diseases (including wearing a mask, hand and respiratory hygiene etc.) must become obvious and tacit good societal practices, rather than temporary inconveniences that we want to rid ourselves of as soon as possible.

Last updated: 09.03.2021 13:18

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A person who has been vaccinated has to wear a mask for the following reasons:

  1. None of the COVID-19 vaccines in use is a hundred percent effective in preventing infection and getting symptomatic or asymptomatic forms of the disease. A vaccinated person can also get infected and transmit the disease, even though at a lesser rate than a person who has not been vaccinated.
  2. The vaccines do not ensure immediate protection. Even after receiving the second shot it will take a certain time for maximum protection to develop.
  3. The efficacy of the vaccine might be smaller than promised for persons who have reduced immunity as a result of certain diseases and a mask is an important supplementary means of protection.
  4. The virus keeps mutating. The more people get the disease, the faster it develops. The vaccines that have been developed might not prevent the devastating effect of new mutated strains of the virus. The studies conducted thus far have shown that the vaccines do work on the more contagious variants that have been identified by now but the masks protect from any and all strains of the coronavirus, and from other airborne diseases as well.
  5. The level of COVID-19 infection is currently very high in Estonia and thus the risk of getting infected is also very high.

Last updated: 09.03.2021 13:19

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The data on whether vaccination hinders the transmission of the disease in currently still limited. At the same time, it is known that vaccinated people transmit the virus at a considerably lower rate than people who have not been vaccinated.

See more from articles on this:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32623-4/fulltext https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.08.21251329v1?ref=theprepping-com

A vaccinated close contact doe not need to stay in isolation but he does need to wear a mask during the close contact period and follow other measures of infection safety.

Last updated: 09.03.2021 13:20

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There is more and more data on how vaccination protects from asymptomatic infection and transmission of the virus. The data from Israel shows that even though vaccinated persons can transmit the virus (as the effectiveness of the vaccines is not always 100%), the probability that a vaccinated person transmits the virus is still considerably smaller than it is for a non-vaccinated person.

See, for instance, https://www.sahmri.org/m/uploads/2021/02/24/covid-19-evidence-update-do-more-severe-symptoms-mean-youre-more-highly-infections.pdf. (Petter E et al., Initial real world evidence for lower viral load of individuals who have been vaccinated by BNT162b2 GitHub Feb 7th, 2021 medRxiv preprint)

Last updated: 10.03.2021 09:45

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If a person gets infected with the COVID-19 disease after receiving the first or the second dose of the vaccine, he can be infectious for up to then days in most cases and has to stay in isolation.

Last updated: 10.03.2021 09:45

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Foreigners and patients who do not have insurance will also be vaccinated for free. The vaccination will take place on the same basis as for the locals, i.e. according to the COVID-19 vaccination plan. If the foreigner does not have a family doctor, they need to turn to the family doctor that is servicing the territory of their place of stay. We would additionally like to explain that the vaccines are arriving in Estonia in stages and in limited quantities. For that reason it is not possible to immediately offer vaccines to all who want them. Once a person is up in the vaccination line, the family doctor will invite the patient for a vaccination.

Last updated: 16.03.2021 16:41

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Even though a certain immune protection occurs after receiving the first dose already, it is not enough and that is why it is important to receive both shots of a two dose course. Currently there is not enough research info on whether the second dose could be administered with a vaccine from another manufacturer, which is why the second dose should still be administered with vaccine from the same manufacturer. As it is possible that manufacturing and delivery difficulties occur, the Health Board is storing the quantities of second doses necessary to guarantee the administration of a second dose at a previously agreed upon time.

Last updated: 16.03.2021 16:44

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).