Health Board: Mask regulation in force until second coronavirus wave ends

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Mari-Anne Härma. Source: ERR

The requirement to wear a mask in public will remain in force in Estonia as people who have been vaccinated can still spread coronavirus and many people from risk groups have not yet been vaccinated, Deputy Director General of the Estonian Health Board (Terviseamet) Mari-Anne Härma has said.

Speaking on ETV's morning program "Terevisioon" on Monday, Härma said it is too early to say that a vaccinated person does not need to wear a mask. People vaccinated against the coronavirus can be infected again but the effects of the virus will be milder and with fewer symptoms.

In the current situation, where risk groups have not yet been vaccinated, people who have received a dose should continue wearing a mask until risk groups are safe. Only after this can rules around masks be relaxed, Härma explained.

"When we are vaccinated, we will continue to behave as we have behaved so far until we have the knowledge that the risk groups are vaccinated. We will wear masks at work, in public spaces, where we have frequent contacts, also with patients. We will wear masks until the wave is over and we have enough vaccinated people," she said.

Härma confirmed that people who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be vaccinated as well because it is not known how long their immunity lasts. However, they will be at the end of the list. She said as there are not yet enough doses it is reasonable to vaccinate those who have not had the disease first.

Discussing people who have already received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, she said no extraordinary side effects have been reported.

First Moderna vaccine doses to arrive this week

On Monday, the third batch of 9,750 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses will arrive in Estonia and on Wednesday the first batch of 1,200 Moderna vaccine doses will arrive, undersecretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs Maris Jesse said on "Terevisioon".

Speaking about the importance of vaccinating people against COVID-19, Jesse said the need for hospital treatment will decrease, especially among the elderly and people with certain chronic diseases.

Discussing Isreal's high vaccination rate, she said this has been possible because Isreal is buying doses at a much higher price. She emphasized in a small country like Estonia, it is only possible to receive vaccines by participating in the European Union's joint agreement.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright

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