A nurse was detained by police in Harju County on Wednesday who is suspected of taking bribes to create coronavirus vaccination certificates for unvaccinated people.
The woman is suspected of professional forgery and bribery and these charges relate to at least 20 episodes. However, this number may rise over the course of the investigation.
The woman is a nurse in a small company and it was her job to vaccinate elderly and bedridden people at home during the crisis.
Several other people are also suspected in the case.
Ats Kübarsepa, head of the Central Criminal Police Corruption Crime Bureau, said the demand for vaccination passes has increased as stronger restrictions have been introduced.
People are looking for opportunities to obtain a certificate on social media, he said.
"The immunization certificate is an important document in the sense of the law, as is a passport or ID card, and the forgery and use of the certificate is a violation of the law," Kübarsepp said.
He said issuing a certificate to unvaccinated people undermines the whole vaccination process and the hardworking healthcare sector.
"We're talking about 20 episodes right now. If we know that 800,000 people have received at least one vaccination today, that's actually a very small number, but I'd like to emphasize that it's not acceptable," Kübarsepp told ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera".
District Prosecutor of the Northern District Prosecutor's Office Triinu Olev, who is leading the criminal proceedings, said the prosecutor's office is considering applying for the dismissal of the nurse during the preliminary investigation.
"In addition to gathering evidence, it is important to ensure during the investigation that the healthcare worker in question cannot continue to issue immunization certificates to people who do not actually receive the vaccine. If the court grants the request, the woman may not provide any care during the current proceedings," she said.
ETV's investigative TV show "Pealtnägija" played a crucial role in the proceedings after being tipped off. The show managed to track down a person selling the certificates for approximately €500 and was issued one saying they had received the one-shot Janssen vaccine.
The show then contacted the police and passed on the information.
Editor: Helen Wright