Period between final vaccine dose and booster dose likely to be shortened

Vaccination. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Estonian immunprophylaxis expert committee will discuss a proposal to shorten the period between the vaccination process and when booster doses can be administered on Monday evening. The period is currently either five or six months, depending on the vaccine used and a decision could be put into force from Tuesday.

All healthcare experts are constantly calling people to get booster coronavirus vaccines. More than 200,000 people in Estonia have already done so, but some 150,000 people have not gone for an additional dose, even though their vaccination process ended either five or six months ago. Therefore, almost half the vaccinated people that could, have not supplemented their vaccination process with an additional dose.

The period is five months for AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines and six months for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Scientific data shows that the protection provided by vaccines drops suddenly three months post-vaccination. There are more and more cases, in which people have gotten infected a few weeks before they are able to get booster doses. Some cases have been serious.

This has led more and more specialists to call for a change to the period between the vaccination process and the booster dose - booster doses should be administered sooner than five or six months, but there is no official justification for it.

While booking a time slot for a booster dose in the portal, the system automatically offers the first available times for the specific person, depending on the vaccines.

However, many people have discovered that if they just head to a vaccination point without registering a time, they can get a booster dose earlier than officially intended. Several people have used this option, but the Health Insurance Fund outlawed it. In addition, the fund has decided against sending notifications during the Christmas holidays, which are a popular time of year for gatherings and parties. But people cannot get extra protection unless it has been five or six months since their previous vaccine dose.

The immunoprophylaxis committee is set to meet on Monday evening to discuss the period between vaccination doses to be prepared for the highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19. There are no options currently on the table.

"A decision will be formed and forwarded to the Minister of Health and Labor (Tanel Kiik - ed) on [Tuesday] morning. The committee's decision is a general recommendation and a doctor or nurse can make their own decisions based on the person's health," Ministry of Social Affairs vaccination communication manager Kadri Hansalu told ERR.

Only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are used for booster doses.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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