Estonians vaccinated abroad cannot generate Estonian coronavirus passports

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

Estonians who are vaccinated outside of Estonia will not be able to generate a coronavirus passport through the health system, the Ministry of Social Affairs has said.

ERR's Estonian news portal reported on Friday that even if an Estonian abroad is vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency the information cannot be transferred to the Estonian digital registry. This means Estonians living abroad will not be able to generate a digital QR code coronavirus certificate in the Patient Portal.

Aurora Ursula Joala, adviser at the Ministry of Social Affairs in the field of e-services development and innovation, told ERR that vaccination notes can be added in the Estonian health system based on the patient's own words and foreign doctors' medical documents, but this will not be enough to create a digital certificate.

"The reliability of the Estonian health information system is based on the fact that an identified health care provider enters data about its activities in the health information system, confirming their accuracy," she said.

Joala told ERR the development of the Estonian coronavirus passport and its integration into the framework of the European green digital certificate is currently underway, but it has not yet been completed.

"At a later stage, the issuance of certificates to those vaccinated in third countries should also be considered, but at the moment we do not plan to do so and the person will receive his or her vaccination certificate in the country where he or she was vaccinated," she said.

Joala added that people vaccinated abroad must apply to the institution where they received their jab in order to obtain a vaccination certificate.

"If a solution based on a QR code similar to Estonia has not yet been introduced in the foreign country where vaccination has been carried out, it is possible to prove one is vaccinated in Estonia with a paper certificate issued in another country," she said.

In recent days, politicians have discussed the future use of the vaccine passport in relation to events taking place in Estonia this summer. No final decisions have been made but Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said the passport should not create discrimination.

Ministers have said rules about the use of vaccine passports or vaccination certificates will not be introduced until everyone in Estonia has had the opportunity to get two doses of a vaccine.

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise told ERR that currently, a coronavirus certificate is only important when crossing borders.

"The procedure for using an immune certificate is still being developed and this concern is known. The state decision does not intend to create restrictions to exclude people without an immune certificate, it could not be done," Madise said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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