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

COVID-19 vaccination

Expand all questions

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on health care, the social sphere, and the economy. COVID-19 disease can cause serious illness and death. It is not known what the long-term effects of the virus will be on people of different ages, but also on otherwise healthy people.

Vaccination is one of the more effective ways to prevent contracting infectious diseases. Safe and effective vaccines are necessary to avoid getting infected.

This means that the body immediately recognizes the pathogen and starts to defend itself against it. It is particularly important to protect health care professionals and workers of care facilities as the risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 is the highest for them. It is also important to protect the elderly, or people with certain diagnoses, as the implications of getting infected might be the most severe for them.

COVID-19 vaccines elicit an immune response in the body to prevent the disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Vaccination against the COVID-19 disease is highly likely to play an important role in bringing the pandemic caused by the coronavirus under control and returning to regular life.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

Developing the coronavirus vaccines is currently a global priority and several big companies and universities in the world are actively pursuing it at the moment. On the web page of the World Health Organization (WHO) there is a fresh list of all vaccine candidates in the works right now.

Decades of experience with developing, testing and producing vaccines are being utilised in creating the vaccines. At the same time, the same rules and quality requirements apply as do with other medicines.

First, the vaccines are tested in laboratory conditions and then clinical studies take place, where the vaccines are tested on volunteers. These studies help to understand how the vaccines work and -- what is especially important -- give an idea about their safety and efficacy.

All vaccine candidates are evaluated by scientists and agencies according to standards that apply to all medicines in the European Union, in order to guarantee that these meet all quality, safety and efficacy requirements. The decision making process is monitored so that it would be scientifically trustworthy. As with all medicines, the vaccine that will get an authorisation of use in the future must be significantly more capable of protecting people from the disease caused by COVID-19 infection than its possible risks or side effects. The standards for getting a marketing authorisation are not lowered because of the pandemic.

In the European Union, including Estonia, it is only allowed to use vaccines that meet all EU and Estonian requirements. In Europe, the European Medicines Agency checks that the vaccine is safe enough and issues the marketing authorisation. The vaccine will reach Estonia after the marketing authorisation has been issued.

More information about the vaccine and vaccination can be found from the website vaktsineeri.ee.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:37

Did this response answer your question?

On December 26, the first delivery of COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the Estonian Health Board, containing 9,750 doses of vaccine.

From December 27, the vaccination of health care workers against COVID-19 started in Estonia.

Refer to the vaccination timeline HERE.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:36

Did this response answer your question?

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.

As of January 2021, the European Commission has issued a conditional marketing authorisation to two corona vaccines:

  • on December 21, 2020, the European Commission issued a conditional marketing authorisation to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty;
  • on January 6, the European Commission issued a conditional marketing authorisation to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

These two vaccines combined ensure that 460 million doses are taken into use in the European Union (there are 446 million people living in the European Union).

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.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:37

Did this response answer your question?

It was decided that first priority in vaccinations is given to people who ensure that health and social care services could function in regular order, and risk groups:

  • health care workers and people working in health care facilities -- ca 30,000 people;
  • workers and residents of care facilities -- ca 25,000 people;
  • all people over 70 years of age and people with certain diagnoses -- ca 260,000 people.

After this, vaccinations will be provided for representatives of sectors most critical for the functioning of the society:

  • front line workers with a higher risk of infection;
  • providers of vital services (in the meaning of the Emergency Act).

Vaccinations are voluntary in Estonia. Every vaccination contributes to stopping the spread of the virus and returning to regular life, and allows to also protect those that cannnot get vaccinated for different reasons. The plan is to provide vaccinations to all the residents of Estonia who wish to get them at first chance, when a sufficient quantity of vaccines has been obtained

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

Last updated: 27.01.2021 15:49

Did this response answer your question?

Yes, vaccination against the coronavirus is voluntary in Estonia.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:35

Did this response answer your question?

According to the plan of the Government, until the end of 2021, the vaccination against the coronavirus will be free of charge for all Estonian residents, including people who do not have health insurance.

Last updated: 31.01.2021 10:51

Did this response answer your question?

The plan is to primarily use already working systems in organizing 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.

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.

The general order of vaccinations in Estonia will be established by the COVID-19 vaccination steering group created at the Ministry of Social Affairs in cooperation with the national expert committee on immunoprophylaxis. The vaccination steering group consists of representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Health Board, the State Agency of Medicines, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre. The expert committee on immunoprophylaxis is an advisory body for the Ministry of Social Affairs that consists of representatives of family doctors, paediatricians, infectious disease specialists, immunologists and allergologists.

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

Last updated: 27.01.2021 15:46

Did this response answer your question?

Starting from August, the Ministry of Social Affairs has conducted monthly surveys on the attitudes of Estonian residents towards vaccination.

According to the latest results, as of mid-December, 50% of the responders would be willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 immediately. 21% do not have a position yet (+4%).

The share of people who do not want to get vaccinated also increased by 4% in a month -- the readiness indicator is almost 8% lower than in October and November. The readiness to get vaccinated is higher among men and people over the age of 65 and lower primarily among women and residents between the ages of 25 and 49.

The main motivation for getting vaccinated is the understanding that with enough vaccine cover we can all go back to regular life, and belonging to a risk group.

Estonian people's general trust towards vaccination is high. The cover of most vaccinations in the immunization plan was more than 93% in 2019.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:04

Did this response answer your question?

In the case of the vaccines currently in use, a ready antigen is delivered into the organism, our organism recognizes it and starts an immune response against it. This concludes in the creation of specific antibodies and immune cells that fight against the pathogen and protect the organism if it should come into contact with the virus.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

The vaccines currently in use are component vaccines, inactivated vaccines, vaccines based on virus-like particles, and live-attenuated vaccines.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

With these vaccines, the genetic material of the pathogen is delivered into the organism in the form of either DNA or RNA, and based on the information contained in it, the organism itself will synthesize the part of the pathogen necessary for the creation of immunity, i.e. the antigen. As a rule, this is some protein of the pathogen, in the case of the coronavirus the spike protein on its surface. One way of describing the situation would be that if an organism needs food daily, in the case of one vaccine a ready meal is delivered, in the case of another the organism is delivered a recipe and the organism itself is capable of preparing the food with the help of the recipe.

Compared to a protein, the mRNA is a simpler molecule and thus the production of mRNA is generally faster than the production of vaccines that have been in use up until now. The idea of vaccines based on mRNA is actually already decades old and this type of vaccines have been tested in clinical studies for different infectious diseases. For different reasons, none of them have been taken into use on humans thus far. There is reason to hope that technological development will allow it now.

More information is available here: https://somblogi.wordpress.com/2020/12/22/triin-suvi-ja-pille-saalik-ravimiametist-selgitavad-kuidas-toimivad-meie-kehas-koroonavaktsiini-erinvad-tuubid/

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:16

Did this response answer your question?

All medicines, including vaccines, have side effects, and risks and benefits must be weighed in using the medicines.

A side effect of a medicine is any detrimental or unintended effect of the medicine that occurs in the course of diagnosing, preventing or treatment of a disease, also in overdosing or misusing the medicine, and in the case of which a causal link between the medicine and the occurred reaction cannot be excluded.

The more common side effects are the swelling and redness of the puncture site, fever. Serious side effects are rare. All possible side effects of a particular vaccine are listed on the information sheet of the medicine.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on health care, the social sphere, and the economy, and thus safe and effective vaccines are needed to prevent infection. It is particularly important to protect health care workers and workers of care facilities, the elderly and people with certain diagnoses.

Because of the extreme global need, a lot of public money has been directed into developing the vaccines, which is also why a lot of time and human resources have been invested into developing and testing different technologies. This means that several factors have coincided in order to make the fast development of vaccines based on mRNA and other technologies possible.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has created an expert working group to evaluate the vaccine candidates as quickly as possible and created an accelerated evaluation procedure. At the same time, no compromises have been made when it comes to evaluation criteria (safety, quality, effectiveness) and it is monitored that the decision-making is scientifically sound. The conditions for getting a market authorisation have not been eased because of the pandemic.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

About 60 vaccine candidates in the world have already reached the stage of clinical studies, i.e. from an idea to actual human testing.

Please find more information from: https://ravimiamet.ee/covid-19-vaktsiiniarendused

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:17

Did this response answer your question?

Several different vaccines are being currently developed. Upon getting a market authorisation, all of the ingredients of a vaccine are also published, they are listed on the information sheet of the medicine. The information sheet of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine can be found both in the Register of Medicinal Products and on the web page of the State Agency of Medicines.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

It is possible to vaccinate children against the COVID-19 disease when a vaccine suitable for children is found.

More information about Pizeri and BioNTechi vaccine Comirnaty can be found on this information sheet: https://www.ravimiregister.ee/publichomepage.aspx?pv=PublicMedDetail&vid=982df82a-b18a-4218-84fb-093ad8386b69

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:17

Did this response answer your question?

Additional information on the blogpost of the Ministry of Social Affairs: https://somblogi.wordpress.com/2020/12/22/triin-suvi-ja-pille-saalik-ravimiametist-selgitavad-kuidas-toimivad-meie-kehas-koroonavaktsiini-erinvad-tuubid/

  • Inactivated vaccines contain a killed virus particle.
  • Component vaccine contains a virus antigen produced in a laboratory. It does not contain the virus itself.
  • Virus-like particle -- different parts of the virus are synthesized in a laboratory and put together into a single virus-like particle. It lacks the genetic material of the virus and it does not reproduce itself.
  • mRNA vaccine contains mRNA in a fat bubble, based on which the cells of our body produce the virus antigen.
  • A vaccine based on a virus vector where a virus vector delivers DNA into a cell in which a virus antigen is produced based on the DNA.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:17

Did this response answer your question?

Estonian language information sheet for the vaccine can be found here: https://www.ravimiregister.ee/publichomepage.aspx?pv=PublicMedDetail&vid=982df82a-b18a-4218-84fb-093ad8386b69

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:17

Did this response answer your question?

It is currently not yet possible to tell how long the immunity lasts, as the studies are still ongoing. Long-term immunity is also unknown, running data is being collected on this.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:07

Did this response answer your question?

As several different vaccines are being developed and coming to the market, their characteristics are certain to somewhat differ from each other.

Whether a vaccine is suitable or unsuitable for somebody is noted on the information sheet of the vaccine.

Who should be vaccinated and how is best known to the medical worker who carries out the vaccination.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:08

Did this response answer your question?

All vaccines that get a marketing authorisation must be effective, of high quality, and safe. The benefit derived from a vaccine must be vastly bigger that its possible risks.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:08

Did this response answer your question?

Viruses mutating is a regular process. All mutations do not lead to reduced efficacy of the developed vaccines but the genetic changes in virus strains are still followed closely in order to evaluate their effect on the vaccines that have been or are being developed.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:08

Did this response answer your question?

All medicines may have side effects. Information on the side effects of every particular medicine or vaccine can be found on the information sheets of the medicine. The information sheet of the Pfizer and BioNTech corona vaccine package is in the Register of Medicinal Products and on the web page of the State Agency of Medicines.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:08

Did this response answer your question?

Most of the vaccines for which Estonia has joined the pre-purchase agreements require for the vaccine to be administered twice in order to achieve sufficient immunity. The planned amounts for Estonia are: 1,330,000 doses from the AstraZeneca pre-purchase agreement; 300,000 doses from the Jannsen Pharmaceutica NV pre-purchase agreement; 603,876 doses from the Pfizer/BioNTech pre-purchase agreement; 234,467 doses from the Moderna pre-purchase agreement; 659,383 doses from the Curevac pre-purchase agreement.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:08

Did this response answer your question?

A pre-purchase agreement means that after all the necessary studies and tests have been conducted and a marketing authorisation has been obtained, the manufacturer must guarantee that a priority in delivery is given to the states that have joined the pre-purchase agreement.

The goal of pre-purchase agreements is to accelerate the development and production of vaccines and to increase their production volumes, while sharing with the manufacturers the risks that go along with investments into developing and producing vaccines.

As of right, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have received a marketing authorisation in the EU and the other vaccine candidates are still being developed.

As prior to obtaining an EU marketing authorisation there is no certainty about which additional vaccine candidates will reach the markets and what the effectiveness of a particular vaccine is (for instance, a vaccine being developed might be effective only for certain age groups, the duration of immunity, shelf life and terms of use might differ), pre-purchase agreements are signed with several trustworthy manufacturers who are developing vaccines based on different technologies, in order to lower the risks.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:38

Did this response answer your question?

Vaccinations can be administered by those doctors, nurses and midwives who have passed the basic and further training on immunizations within the last five years.

For COVID-19 vaccinations, the same working solutions are used that have been used for organizing vaccination in Estonia thus far.

Primary locations for vaccinations are: hospitals, family health centres, care homes, and in later stages also work places (providers of essential services; other front line workers who have a higher risk of infection), infectious diseases clinic or vaccination offices.

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

Last updated: 27.01.2021 15:53

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

If a person has a change in health or any new health complaints after receiving a vaccine, he needs to contact his family doctor who will evaluate whether the reaction might be due to the vaccine, some other disease, or a new disease that is independent from the vaccine. Regardless of the reason, the new complaint might require treatment. The reactions that occur are treated the best way possible, regardless of whether they are connected to the vaccination or not.

Notifying of serious side effects (where the medical worker considers a link possible) is obligatory for doctors, dentists, veterinarians, nurses and midwives.

If the medical worker assesses that the reaction is not connected to the vaccine but the patient thinks it is, the patient himself may notify the State Agency of Medicines of the possible side effect. The State Agency of Medicines evaluates the possible side effects described in the notification for their seriousness and causal link, and checks whether the side effect is previously known or not.

In the course of the evaluation it must become clear whether the reaction was connected to the vaccine and what its type is.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:11

Did this response answer your question?

The person getting vaccinated will receive a notification from her family doctor and through eesti.ee that she is in the target group for vaccinations and has the possibility of getting vaccinated.

After a vaccine has received a marketing authorisation and deliveries have been made, the state will definitely also use other channels to give out general information on who can come and get vaccinated.

Read more specific information from the Health Board web page www.vaktsineeri.ee/enw or ask your family doctor. Summaries of properties of the COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the web page of the State Agency of Medicines.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:11

Did this response answer your question?

Information about your family doctor is available on the state portal eesti.ee service "Health insurance and family doctor information", you can get information by phone from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund tel no 669 6630 or digilugu.ee.

The contacts of the Family Medicine Center can be found in the list of the Health Insurance Fund: https://www.haigekassa.ee/inimesele/arsti-ja-oendusabi/haigekassa-lepingupartnerid

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:42

Did this response answer your question?

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 health care or 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.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:11

Did this response answer your question?

Most of the COVID-19 vaccines that have received a marketing authorisation (Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna) require two doses.

According to an interval prescribed by the manufacturer, a second shot is administered after the first one, for example, Pfizer and Biotech vaccines allow for 21-day interval between two injections.

The first injection will usually create an immune response, but the vaccine will reach maximum effectiveness only after the second dose.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:38

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

It is not possible to attain a paid COVID-19 vaccination in Estonia right now.

Estonia has joined the joint EU COVID-19 vaccines procurement to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccinations for Estonian residents.

Priority in vaccinations is given to people that ensure the operation of health care and social care services, and risk groups. After that, vaccinations are made available for the representatives of sectors that are the most critical for the operation of the society, like front line workers with a higher risk of infection, and the providers of vital services in the meaning of the Emergency Act.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:12

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

This is currently not yet known, the studies are ongoing and more and more data accrues.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:12

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

The questions important to employers can be found here: https://www.tooelu.ee/et/tootajale/tookeskkond/Tookeskkonna-ohutegurid/Bioloogilised-ohutegurid/COVID-19-vaktsiin-ja-toosuhted

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:13

Did this response answer your question?

In a situation where most of the countries in the world are in the process of procuring COVID-19 vaccines and the demand surpasses the supply, Estonia would not have the market power to be successful in negotiating with the manufacturers alone.

The European Union has 27 member states with almost 450 million residents behind it. It is possible for countries to have independent negotiations with the vaccine manufacturers but even the larger EU member states have decided in favour of joint EU negotiations and joint EU pre-purchase agreements.

Thus, the European Commission has been authorized to procure COVID-19 vaccines for all member states and it was in the interests of Estonia to accede to this joint procurement in order to guarantee the availability of COVID-19 vaccine for the residents of Estonia.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:14

Did this response answer your question?

The vaccines that are being processed and reviewed by the European Medicines Agency for receiving a marketing authorisation do not contain mercury particles or other unknown compounds. Finding microchips or other such things in vaccines belongs to the sphere of conspiracy theories. All medicines that receive a marketing authorisation in the European Union are checked, safe, of high quality and effective. All ingredients of the vaccine are listed on the information sheet of the vaccine.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:14

Did this response answer your question?

Component vaccines, inactivated vaccines, and vaccines based on virus-like particles. Additionally, vaccines based on mRNA and virus vector.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:14

Did this response answer your question?

Priority in vaccinations is given to risk groups, i.e. health care workers, workers of health care facilities, workers and residents of care facilities, older people (70+) and people with certain diagnoses.

After this, vaccinations will be provided for people providing vital services and front line workers with a higher risk of infection.

Upon new vaccines coming to the market and an increase in the delivery volumes, the number of people who can get vaccinated will also increase. Depending on the quantity of vaccines that reach Estonia, the goal is to achieve a state whereby getting a COVID-19 vaccine will be possible for all who want it by the second quarter of 2021.

The vaccination of children will begin when a vaccine suitable for children will become available.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:14

Did this response answer your question?

As of December 23, 2020, the European Commission has concluded pre-purchase agreements with six vaccine manufacturers: AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Jannsen Pharmaceutica NV, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac, and Moderna.

Estonia has joined five of those pre-purchase agreements and a decision about joining the Sanofi pre-purchase agreement will be made at the beginning of 2021.

The EU member states, including Estonia, have not yet received the pre-purchase agreement with the vaccine manufacturer Novavax.

At the request of several member states, negotiations have also begun with the vaccine manufacturer Valneva.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:14

Did this response answer your question?

It is not possible to tell the exact time right now and that is why we are asking for people to be patient.

The time of vaccination will depend of whether a person is a part of a risk group and which risk group, and also how many doses and how quickly with reach Estonia.

Those belonging to risk groups will get the opportunity to get vaccinated first.

The person getting a vaccination will be notified by her family doctor and through eesti.ee that she is in the target group for vaccinations and has an opportunity to get vaccinated.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:14

Did this response answer your question?

The goal of the vaccination communication is to give the Estonian people evidence-based and timely information, to support the smooth operation of COVID-19 vaccination and allow people to make informed decisions. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to: give information on the vaccines, their effectiveness, safety and possible side effects; give information on how the vaccines are procured and how the vaccination is organized in Estonia; inhibit the spread of factually misleading and malicious false information.

In order to increase the confidence people have, it is necessary to make the evidence-based and true information easily accessible. Official information pertaining to COVID-19 vaccinations is gathered on the web page vaktsineeri.ee, in Estonian, Russian and English. The communication activities cover everyday informing through state channels and also other wider information activities to both Estonian and Russian speaking populations.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:15

Did this response answer your question?

It is definitely important to differentiate between objective fears and straightforwardly false information and conspiracy theories.

It is understandable that people are careful when it comes to a new vaccine. That is why it is important to have empathy and show respect towards people's questions, fears and anxiousness, raise people's awareness of the system of ensuring the safety of medicines in Europe. The provided information must give people the confidence that the European Commission gives a vaccine a marketing authorisation only after the European Medicines Agency has evaluated all the necessary data, including safety and effectiveness. Even though the process has been faster than usual, there have been no compromises made when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.

The constitution of Estonia says that everyone has the right to freely disseminate ideas, opinions, beliefs and other information by word, print, picture or other means. There is no censorship. Spreading unscientific messages and false information is, of course, condemned. The role of the state is to make science- and evidence-based, true and trustworthy information as easily accessible as possible. When it comes to vaccinations, the main channels for that are the web pages of the State Agency of Medicines and the Health Board.

Last updated: 27.12.2020 17:15

Did this response answer your question?

At present, there are no national restrictions established based on COVID-19 vaccination, at least not within the European Union. More detailed information on travel and restrictions can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:43

Did this response answer your question?

Vaccination is voluntary in Estonia. In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the employer must review the risk assessment of the work environment, supplement it if necessary, and draw up an appropriate action plan on the basis of a realistic risk assessment. 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 biological infections.

If an employee refuses to be vaccinated, the employer will:

  • 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 (eg 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.

Before terminating the employment relationship, it must be taken into account that § 88 (2) of the Employment Contracts Act provides for the precondition that before terminating the employment contract, in particular on the basis specified in clause (1) 2) of this section, the employer must offer the employee another job, if possible. The employer shall offer the employee another job, including, if necessary, arranging for in-service training, adjusting the workplace or changing the employee's working conditions, provided that the changes do not impose disproportionate costs on the employer and the offer of another job can reasonably be expected. Subsection (3) of the same section also obliges the employer to issue prior information to the employee, 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 on the basis of Employment Contract Act § 88 paragraph 1, point 2. The employer must consider all the circumstances, including the risk of infection in changed circumstances (for example, when the spread of the coronavirus is reduced).

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

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:43

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

Effects on fertility have been tested on animals (rats). There were no vaccine-related effects on female fertility, pregnancy or embryo-foetal, or offspring development. No separate summary on fertility has been made.

Last updated: 31.12.2020 10:44

Did this response answer your question?

At the beginning of the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 vaccination risk groups were defined and the general principles of COVID-19 vaccination were agreed in the Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee advising the Ministry of Social Affairs. COVID-19 vaccination starts from health care professionals, employees of health care institutions, employees and residents of care institutions, people over the age of 70 and people with certain diagnoses. Vaccination will then be provided to frontline workers who have a higher risk of infection and providers of essential services. As soon as possible and in the presence of sufficient quantities of vaccine, vaccination will be made available to anyone who wishes to get vaccinated.

Vaccination is carried out on the basis of a list compiled by the Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee of the Ministry of Social Affairs, which lists diseases and conditions which determine the higher risk populations. The list is presented in the vaccination plan of the Ministry of Social Affairs COVID-19: https://www.sm.ee/sites/default/files/news-related-files/covid-19_vaktsineerimise_plaan_19.01.pdf.

The list may change according to the vaccine summary of product characteristics, which sets out, inter alia, the indications and contra-indications. Also, if, in the opinion of the family doctor, there are people on their list who do not have the listed diseases or conditions, but who definitely need vaccination due to their health condition (eg a rare disease patient, etc.), the family doctor may vaccinate them as a priority. The role of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund is to extract from the Health Insurance Fund database (on the basis of medical bills and enrolment) a list of people with the corresponding characteristics in the list.

Last updated: 27.01.2021 15:58

Did this response answer your question?

The Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee that met at the Ministry of Social Affairs on January 13 also discussed lengthening the interval between the two Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine shots and reached an agreement that they do not support this.

The members of the committee came to a joint conclusion that we have to base ourselves on the studies that have been carried out and this topic can be reconsidered if further data coming in shows that the effectiveness of the vaccine does not decrease if the second dose is administered later. This means that we should follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer and the people getting vaccinated should be given the second dose of the vaccine 21 days after the first dose was given, or near that day at first opportunity.

Last updated: 18.01.2021 13:38

Did this response answer your question?

It is not possible to conduct vaccinations of elderly people at home with the vaccines currently in use, as the vaccines cannot be diluted, i.e. there are several doses in one vial. In order to be able to carry out mobile vaccinations, we must wait until a vaccine comes into use that can be transported more easily.

Last updated: 11.02.2021 09:30

Did this response answer your question?

For information on contraindications to vaccinations you should consult your family doctor or another health care worker who will be conducting the vaccination. The indications and contraindications of a specific medicine can also be found in the summary of the vaccine's properties that has been published on the web page of the State Agency of Medicines. The summary of the properties of the Moderna vaccine: https://ec.europa.eu/health/documents/community-register/2021/20210106150575/anx_150575_en.pdf. The summary of the properties of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/product-information/comirnaty-epar-product-information_en.pdf.

Last updated: 27.01.2021 16:12

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

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

Did this response answer your question?

The vaccination centres will start vaccinating the staff of educational institutions in the week starting with February 15. The vaccinations will begin with the employees of general education schools.

In addition to teachers, other members of the staff who come into contact with an infection risk at school can also get vaccinated, regardless of their form of employment. This means that you can, for instance, add the data of youth workers, cooks, cleaners (even if they are working based on an authorisation agreement or are employees of a company that offers the service) and others working in the school to the list. A person who works at several schools needs to decide herself in which school's list she is submitted for vaccination.

More specific information about vaccinating educational workers can be found on the web page of the Ministry of Education and Research (in Estonian).

Last updated: 17.02.2021 09:08

Did this response answer your question?

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