PCR testing continues until Estonia reaches 75 percent vaccination rate

Coronavirus testing station.
Coronavirus testing station. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

PCR coronavirus testing will continue in Estonia until 75 percent of the population has been vaccinated, the Ministry of Social Affairs said on Monday. After that, close contacts are likely to undergo antigen testing.

Heidi Alasepp, undersecretary of Health at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said on Monday the future of testing in Estonia largely depends on coronavirus vaccination coverage.

A new strategy is being developed based on 75 percent vaccination coverage, which she hopes will have been achieved by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

Currently, Estonia's vaccination rate for the whole population is 58 percent.

The strategy should be ready by the end of November.

"We are still in the discussion phase, but we are really distinguishing between symptomatic and asymptomatic people. And based on that, we will make recommendations," Alasepp said.

In the new year, people with coronavirus symptoms are still likely to be tested with a PCR test even if they have been vaccinated. But for people deemed close contacts without symptoms, antigen testing may be enough.

In addition to being several times cheaper than PCR tests, people can test themselves.

Last year, Estonia allocated €100 million for coronavirus testing. By the end of September, 826,608 tests had been performed under the contract and €44.7 million had been spent.

Alasepp hopes the cost of the next procurement will be smaller.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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