Experts may recommend extending Covid recovery certificate term to one year

Vaccinations in progress at Tallinn's central market.
Vaccinations in progress at Tallinn's central market. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Several experts think that the coronavirus recovery certificate, currently valid for six months, should be valid for a year. The social affairs ministry's experts and scientists are holding discussions over whether the same recommendation should be given to the government as well, while at the same time, the focus is on hospitals getting full quickly.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) has said referring to Europe's joint approach, by which the certificate is valid for half a year, that the matter should be discussed later.

As the European certificate is valid for six months, Kiik thinks it's not rationale to issue Estonia's certificates for longer time periods.

Head of the government's cornavirus advisory council Irja Lutsar says that the council has already given the recommendation, but other experts need to also discuss the matter.

The Ministry of Social Affairs announced that the discussion on the matter will continue and extending the validity of the certificate was also a topic of discussion at the beginning of the week.

Member of the Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee Marje Oona said that the fact that other countries have different requirements for vaccinated and recovered people compared to Estonia.

"During summer, it was discussed that if a person has a high level of antibodies, how will we recommend vaccinating. In this case, we recommend one vaccine dose for the first vaccination," Oona said.

"In many countries, people who have suffered from the virus still have to vaccinate or two vaccine doses which are required for acquiring the certificate is recommended. But internally, one dose is enough in this case. The same applies to the booster shots; we don't advise routine booster shots to people who have recovered and already received one dose," she said.

Chairman of Isamaa supports move

The Chairman of the Isamaa party, Helir-Valdor Seeder, says he supports the idea of extending the certificates who notes that several experts have said that suffering from the virus could also create immunity against the virus.

"It is not clear to me why suffering from the virus gives only half of the immunity from the vaccination's immunity. They should at least be the same length," Seeder said.

Seeder found that Europe's six-month limit doesn't stop Estonia from extending the validity internally because the restrictions are different in countries anyway.

Seeder said that the shorter period could attract people to get vaccinated, but its effect would only be statistical. "In this case, we're spending resources and dealing with only people who are less dangerous for other people and who might not need to get vaccinated instead of directing our resources into people who are in the risk group, unvaccinated. We are dealing with the wrong aspects then," Seeder said.

Minister of Social Protection hesitating

Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform) on the other hand has said that there are currently more practical issues that should be dealt with, but the government is listening to scientists.

Riisalo said that the party and the government's cabinet haven't discussed the topic. "The fundamental approach is that we're trusting experts. Decisions that are good for the people can only be done by experts," she said.

"I'm afraid that there are significantly more acute issues needing to be discussed. "This is not the most important task today when we are fighting to keep the hospitals from being overloaded," Riisalo said.

She said that even in the current situation, one should not look for ways not to get vaccinated and to extend the certificate. "This is certainly not the most important issue at the moment," Riisalo added.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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