No agreement on extending validity of coronavirus recovery certificate

Immunity certificate.
Immunity certificate. Source: ERR

Experts believe the coronavirus recovery certificate could be valid for a year instead of the current six months, which is the same length as the coronavirus vaccination certificate. The topic has been discussed since summer, but there is still no solution.

Behind the doors of the Laagri Family Doctor Center, mainly people wanting to get the booster show are waiting, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Sunday.

Every day there's a person who comes to get the first vaccination dose, head of the center Triinu-Mari Ots said.

Family doctors are also asked about everything that has been unclear regarding deadlines of vaccination and the validity period of the certificate.

"There's a lot of confusion. Not only for people, we also sometimes need to follow very closely how does it work," Ots said.

Lately, more and more people are coming to the center who have recovered from the virus and who are unsure whether and when to get the booster shot and how long the recovert certificate is valid for.

Ots said in the case of people who have recovered from the virus, the family doctor needs to take out a list. The vaccination times depend on whether the person got infected after the first or second dose and how long was in the middle of the two.

Ots said that mostly they recommend getting the booster shot half a year after recovering because this is how long the immunity should last.

"Currently, it's valid for half a year. We don't know exactly, but we take this as the base. If they need the immunity pass, for example for traveling, we can do this booster shot earlier. But it isn't quite rational," Ots said.

Scientific council supports the same validity rules for certificates

Virologist Andres Merits said it is not rational that the vaccination certificate is valid for a year and the recovery certificate for half a year.

According to the government's decision, two types of coronavirus certificates are issued: vaccination certificate valid for 12 months and recovery certificate valid for six months.

"The scientific council has made a proposal for unifying the validity of the certificates, which in the current case, means extending the recovery certificate validity. As far as I know, several independent scientists have expressed the same opinion," Merits said.

European Union states have agreed that the recovery certificate is valid for 180 days, i.e. six months. The European Center for Disease Prevention (ESDC) and Control's analysis is the basis of the validity period.

Denmark and Norway have already extended the validity period to a year. The Minister of Social Affairs said when Estonia also decides to extend the validity period, it would be an internal matter.

Merits said that it is not clear whether recovering from the virus or vaccinating against it gives better immunity and that the studies regarding the topic give opposing results.

"The U.S. CDC study reveals that the immunity protection from vaccination is better. An analog study conducted in Israel states the opposite. A study conducted in the United Kingdom states that they're more or less the same. In this situation, it is most reasonable to see what the state is in Estonia. Currently, we can see that there are fewer infected people among the recovered people than among the vaccinated," Merits said.

Chancellor of Justice wants certificate to be extended

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise has spoken on the topic in the Riigikogu's Social Committee and wants to extend the validity despite what other countries are deciding.

Chairman of the Social Committee Siret Kotka (Center) said the committee has discussed the validity of the certificate, but a decision has not been made by the committee. She supports extending the certificate to a year.

"I understand there are different scientists and studies arguing over the topic. But when we look at it simply, the whole system should be much more unified so that people understand it the same. I personally support it and support the scientists who have stood for it," Kotka said.

Member of the Center Party faction Priit Sibul (Isamaa) is also of the same opinion.

"It would be reasonable if these bases would be unified. No one knows anything precisely although we've been living with this virus for a year and a half to two years. But when we look back, it's all very fresh," Sibul said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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