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Health Board to report Covid cases' vaccination status on weekly basis

The vaccination booth at Freedom Square, Tallinn.
The vaccination booth at Freedom Square, Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Health Board (Terviseamet) is to start publishing the vaccination status of those who have contracted Covid on a weekly basis, and no longer in its daily updates of Covid figures. Factors include the lengthy period since vaccinated people received their last dose, and the arrival of the Omicron strain, which vaccinated people are more likely to contract than other variants.

The board says it is important to interpret differences between vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups in terms of infection rates within that group. They are not two equal groups, so cannot be compared as they have been without further context, the board said via a press release Monday.

"This means that when evaluating the effectiveness of vaccines, the proportion of infections in the respective group should be taken into account, not across all infections. We will add this proportion to our press release in the coming days," the press release stated.

The board added that since its main goal is to maintain the continuity of the health care sector in pandemic conditions, it is especially important for it to monitor trends in the indicators of serious illness and of hospital treatment. 

The new, weekly review will start this Wednesday.

Of the 162 people hospitalized with severe Covid symptoms reported as of Monday, 80.9 percent (131 individuals) were unvaccinated.

"This is the most important indicator," the board's statement added, noting that it, in conjunction with the government's coronavirus scientific council: "Has emphasized from the outset that the vaccine does not offer 100 percent protection against infection, but reduces the risk of severe illness by several times over. The vaccine is the best protection against coronavirus currently available."

Additionally, over a year has passed since Covid vaccinations were first rolled-out in Estonia.

During this time, several additional factors have had to be taken into account in assessing the effectiveness of immunization, including the presence of the Omicron variant, and the fact that many vaccinated people contracted Covid over six months after their vaccination, meaning its efficacy had been reduced.

Up until now, the board's daily Covid figures, usually released mid-morning and covering the preceding 24 hours, provided vaccination numbers, including booster or third shots, and gave a breakdown of the vaccination status of new Covid cases and Covid hospitalizations, in addition to the new cases, hospitalizations and deaths themselves.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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