FAQs: Coronavirus vaccination in Estonia

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The Health Board has started a coronavirus vaccination information campaign.
The Health Board has started a coronavirus vaccination information campaign. Source: The Health Board.

Who can get vaccinated in Estonia? How do you sign up? Where and how can you get a coronavirus certificate? ERR News and the government's vaktsineeri.ee website have the answers.

This article was updated on August 8 to add information about coronavirus vaccination certificates.

Vaccination

Who can get vaccinated in Estonia?

Every resident of Estonia is currently able to sign up for vaccination on the Patient Portal. You will need an ID number (Isikukood).

People without ID codes can call the 1247 hotline or find the closest vaccination point on the website https://vaktsineeri.ee/en/covid-19/getting-a-vaccination/, contact them personally, and book an appointment;

Second doses are given several weeks later. You do not need to book a timeslot, this will be given to you when you receive your first vaccination.

The current waiting times between doses are:

  • Moderna: 4 weeks
  • Pfizer/BioNTech: 6 weeks
  • AstraZeneca: 12 weeks

Can international citizens or those without health insurance get vaccinated in Estonia?

Yes.

Foreigners living and/or working in Estonia, and people not covered by health insurance can get vaccinated against COVID-19 for free. They do not need to have a family doctor but will need to have an ID number (Isikukood).

Information about vaccination certificates can be seen below.

Do you need to have a family doctor to register?

No.

The Ministry of Social Affairs told ERR News anyone who has an Estonian personal identification code, regardless of whether they have a family doctor or valid health insurance, will be able to register on the national eBooking system www.digiregistratuur.ee.

If you do not have a family doctor, 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 doctor if you speak English or Russian (telephone: 794 3572, Andrei.Petuhhov@terviseamet.ee)

Do I need to be vaccinated if I have already had coronavirus?

Yes. You should wait six months.

ERR News asked the Ministry of Social Affairs and the answer is as follows:

"The Estonian Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee recommends that the people who have recovered from COVID-19 should be vaccinated with a single dose, preferably on the sixth month after recovery. Then the vaccination course should be considered completed. Also, people who have had the COVID-19 disease more than 6 months ago should be vaccinated with a single dose to ensure a long-term protection. A second dose is not required for those who have recovered COVID-19, also there may be more side effects."

How can you sign up?

A national digital registry has been designed which is accessible through the Patient Portal. An Estonian ID code is needed to book a timeslot. Waiting times will be added continuously.

If you do not know how to use the digital registry, there are volunteers who can assist. To request assistance, a person should call 600 3033, calls will be answered every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can also watch a video about how to use the Patient Portal. The video is in Estonian, but the Patient Portal is also accessible in English and Russian.

Some vaccination centers, such as Tartu's, and Estonia's vaccination buses, which attend public events, are also offering first dose vaccinations without prior registration.

What to do and consider before going to get vaccinated?

Be at the vaccination center on time or cancel your appointment as soon as possible if you know you cannot attend. This means doses will not be wasted and others can be vaccinated faster.

Wear a mask when you come to get vaccinated and come only if you are healthy.

Wear comfortable clothing with easy access to your shoulder.

The vaccinator will outline possible side effects before vaccination.

You will be asked to stay at the center for 15 minutes after vaccination for observation in case you start to feel unwell.

Can you get vaccinated if you're pregnant?

Studies have not shown any direct or indirect negative effect on pregnancy but the experience with using the COVID-19 vaccines on pregnant women is limited.

For that reason it is allowed to use them during the pregnancy only if the possible benefits outweigh the potential risks to the mother and the foetus.

What could the possible side effects be?

Side effects might occur after vaccination. The more typical mild side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are pain and swelling of the injection site, headache, fever, feeling unwell, nausea, muscle pain, and joint pain. The symptoms usually pass within a few days.

This is also one of the reasons why it is requested that a person stay near doctors for 15 minutes after vaccination - this way it is possible to make sure that there are no primary and most severe side effects. Should these occur, the doctors can help immediately.

If a more serious health problem or one that lasts more than three days occurs after vaccination, contact your family doctor or call 1220.

The vaccinators have an obligation to notify the State Agency of Medicines about side effects but if you wish you can notify the State Agency of Medicines (Ravimiamet) yourself about health problems that have occurred after getting vaccinated.

To date, more than 300,000 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the world and there have been no reports of widespread dangerous side effects anywhere.

Source: Estonia's kkk.kriis.ee crisis information website.

Where will vaccination take place?

Hospitals and family doctors centers are continuing to vaccinate people. Vaccination buses have started working across Estonia and selected pharmacies are also offering the jabs.

You can find a list of vaccination locations on the vaktsineeri website.

The mass vaccination centers in Tallinn and Tartu closed at the end of August.

Which vaccines are being used in Estonia?

Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen. The AstraZeneca vaccine is only being given to people over 50.

As part of the European Union's pre-purchase scheme, Estonia has agreements with five manufacturers: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen and CureVac.

The government has also given approval in principle for Estonia to make agreements for all eight manufacturers. Estonia has the possibility to buy 4,761,894 doses of vaccine.

The number of doses of each vaccine ordered can be seen below or viewed online here. Currently, only Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen can be used within the EU.

Information about each vaccine can be read on the vaktsineeri website here.

Is it possible to choose which vaccine you receive?

Yes, you can choose which vaccine you receive when booking a time in the digital registry.

How many doses have been administered so far?

624,720 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine - 47.01 percent of the population, as of July 29. Of these, 548,830 people have been vaccinated twice or finished the vaccination cycle.

Vaccine certificates

Has Estonia launched its vaccination certificate yet?

Yes, the certificate works alongside the EU's Digital Green Passport.

It is possible to generate three certificates which show:

  • Vaccination
  • Recovery from coronavirus
  • A negative covid-19 test

You can generate your own vaccination certificate, which can be downloaded and displayed on a phone or printed off, on the Patient Portal, request a copy from Health and Welfare Information Systems Center (TEHIK) or at council offices or libraries (more information below).

Estonia's passport was created by private sector firm GuardTime and has been endorsed by President Kersti Kaljulaid. You can read more on GuardTime's website.

ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" demonstrated how to create a QR code, which can be watched HERE at 44"-50".

GuardTime's QR code vaccination certificates. Source: GaurdTime.

Where can I print a copy of the vaccine certificate?

Vaccine certificates can be printed for free in the offices of local municipalities and at libraries.

In Tallinn and Tartu, certificates can be printed at the following service halls:

City Center (Kesklinn): Tallinn City Office service bureau (Vabaduse väljak 7, 1st floor), Tallinn Central Library (Estonia pst 8), City Center Government (Nunne 18), City Center Social Center (Liivalaia 32) and the district social welfare department (Pärnu mnt 9).

North Tallinn (Põhja-Tallinn): North Tallinn Administration (Niine 2), Kalamaja Library (Kotzebue 9), Pelguranna Library (Kangru 13) and Sõle Library (Sõle 47b).

Mustamäe: At the public computer point of the district government (E. Vilde tee 118) and the public computer and printer of Mustamäe Day Center (Ehitajate tee 82) during working hours.

Lasnamäe: service hall of the city district government, Lasnamäe district social welfare department (Mahtra 48) and in the new temporary premises of Lasnamäe Social Center (Punane 36).

ID card and PIN codes are required to print a certificate. More information is available on Tallinn City Government's website (link in English).

Tartu: Tartu Information Center at the Town Hall (Raekoja plats 1), Tartu City Library (Kompanii 3-5) and other branches and at the Tartu Vaccination Center at the A Le Coq sports center (Ihaste 7). 

You must bring your ID card and ID card passwords. More information can be found on Tartu City Government's website (link in Estonian).

Where can I get a certificate if I cannot access the Patient Portal?

The Social Insurance Board (Sotsiaalkindlustusamet) will create EU coronavirus certificates for people who cannot generate them themselves. The service is free for everyone.

Where are vaccination passports being used?

From August 9, vaccination passports are needed to attend indoor events or venues where there will be more than 50 people. A valid certificate must show that the vaccination cycle has been completed, which is either one (Janssen) or two doses (Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca).

Certificates can be presented either as a digital or printed copy. Websites such as getcovidpass can help you add your certificate to your phone's wallet.

The government's rules can be read here (link in English).

 

Where can I find more information about the vaccine process in Estonia? 

Estonia's vaccination website is https://vaktsineeri.ee/en/covid-19/vaccination-in-estonia/

You can also find more information on the kkk.kriis.ee website about the following subjects:

Vaccines

Vaccination in Estonia

Side effects

Vaccination plan and risk groups

Vaccination certificates

 

Watch again: Government information session

An online public information session about coronavirus vaccination in Estonia was held on Wednesday (March 16) featuring government members and health experts.

The two-hour discussion can be rewatched here with English translation. 

A second expert panel was held on May 10, which can be watched here with English translation.

Data

Coronavirus vaccination data can be viewed on the Health Board's website or on Koroonakaart.  

The Agency of Medicines also publishes data showing how many people have been vaccinated by sex, doses by manufacturer and reported side effects every week.

Note to readers

Feedback is welcome, as are suggestions for information to add to this article. Email: helen.wright@err.ee

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Editor: Helen Wright

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