Validity of coronavirus certificates will be extended from nine months to 15 for minors for domestic use from February 1, the government agreed on Thursday.
During the 15 months following their vaccination, minors will not have to self-isolate upon returning from abroad and can take part in controlled activities upon presenting their certificate.
Changes are due to come into effect throughout the European Union in February which will reduce the period of validity of vaccination certificates for adults from the current 12 months to nine months. To protect themselves and extend the validity of their certificate to one year, adults can get a booster shot and then download an updated certificate from digilugu.ee.
Since boosters have not been shown to be necessary for minors, the validity of the vaccination certificates of those who are otherwise fully vaccinated is being extended in Estonia to 15 months.
This will enable minors, for a period of 15 months since they were last inoculated, to take part in controlled activities and frees them from the requirement to self-isolate upon returning from abroad.
This longer period is only valid in Estonia – when traveling, the general limit of nine months must be borne in mind and the rules applicable in the destination country should be checked.
Minors will not need to generate a new COVID vaccination certificate. When the change comes into effect, anyone checking the certificate will see the details of its extension in the control app http://kontroll.digilugu.ee.
A solution will also be developed in spring which takes the age of the person presenting the certificate into account, with the control app automatically indicating whether or not their certificate is valid.
Since the period of validity of minors' certificates is only being extended in Estonia, it is important that the Estonian control app is used to check the certificates, because the exception will not be recognised by other apps. Certificates other than the EU digital certificate will continue to be visually inspected.
In the event of a minor coming into close contact with an infected person, the period in which they do not have to go into quarantine is nine months or 270 days. Whereas previously this period for all people was one year after their last vaccination, this is being reduced to nine months starting from 1 February and applies to adults and minors alike.
Since inoculations against COVID-19 are currently available to children from the age of 5, this change will also see the age limit lowered from which minors must present their certificate of vaccination against or recovery from the virus in order to take part in controlled activities: whereas previously children up to the age of 12 years and three months were exempt from presenting the certificate, minors will now have to do so starting from the age of 12.
The EU has agreed coronavirus travel certificates are valid for nine months but each member state can decide on domestic use itself.
Editor: Helen Wright