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Defence Forces and Defence League

How is the vaccination organised in the Defence Forces?

The principles that apply to vaccination in the Defence Forces are the same that apply in the rest of Estonia: vaccinations started with the medical workers and units that are important for the daily functioning of the Defence Forces. The vaccines are the best possibility for conquering the coronavirus and returning to the regular order of life, and the Defence Forces certainly encourage our personnel to get vaccinated. The Defence Forces consider it normal that, due to the goal of our activities -- to maintain the defence capabilities of the state, our staff and servicemen are willing to protect themselves, their companions and close ones by getting vaccinated.

Refusing vaccination means that regular restrictions in force in the country must be taken into account. Furthermore, additional restrictions might be enacted with a decree of the Commander of the Defence Forces, applying to the service and movement in the unit and outside of the territory of the unit, in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Each time when people who have not been vaccinated leave the unit, they must do a COVID-19 rapid test upon returning.

How are the military exercises and reservist trainings organised in different units?

At the beginning of the current year, an amendment was made to the reservist trainings schedule of the first semester, according to which only critically important training exercises are being held.

The Defence Forces have enacted substantiated and effective measures for limiting the spread of the virus, and are actively monitoring the health condition of conscripts and active servicemen. At the training exercise, primary emphasis is put on the general rules for keeping personal and collective hygiene, like hand washing, keeping a distance, using personal protective equipment if necessary. Prior rapid testing and protective masks are used at headquarters, in order to avoid COVID positive persons coming into the closed area, or a later spread of the droplet infection indoors. The contacts between units are also minimised -- the Defence Forces' own exercise grounds are used as much as possible, and public spaces are avoided, so that there would not be an opportunity to carry the infection into the training exercise from the outside.

How do the Defence Forces separate infected persons or persons who are possible virus carriers from others?

As a precautionary measure, quarantine and isolation are used in the Defence Forces.

Quarantine -- in rooms separated from others -- is used for service members who have become infected.

Isolation is used for service members who are not symptomatic but there is a suspicion that they might have come into contact with a virus carrier.

How does the coronavirus affect the activities and tasks of Estonian servicemen serving in foreign operations?

The Defence Forces will continue their participation in international military operations on the principles that have been in force thus far. Any changes will be made according to the changing situation to ensure the health and safety of our units.

Airport closures and cancelled flights of civil airlines due to the spread of the coronavirus may extend the service time of servicemen participating in foreign missions by up to two months or until air traffic resumes.

How is the safety and protection from the coronavirus ensured for servicemen participating in foreign missions?

The servicemen deploying to military operations will be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Military Operations Command is also implementing various other restrictions pertaining to the activities and tasks of the units in the framework of the operation to guarantee the safety of the personnel and prevent them from getting infected with the coronavirus.

In addition to the implementation of generally well-known hygiene requirements, the movement of people and contact with civilians will be further restricted if necessary. In addition, quarantine and isolation requirements already established by different countries will also apply to those moving to and from the area of operation.

Why can´t the servicemen participating in foreign missions return to Estonia on vacation at the planned time?

Many countries in the world have implemented an entry ban, restrictions to entry, mandatory quarantine periods on arrival or airport closures are causing civil airlines to cancelling their flights.

Restrictions and prohibitions have been established by most of the countries where Estonian servicemen participate in military operations or through which servicemen are transported to the area of operations and home. This means that the movement of people to the area of operations and back from there can currently be more difficult.

What measures are the Defence Forces taking to prevent the spread of the virus?

One of the most important measures to prevent getting ill is vaccination against COVID-19 which was provided for conscripts who reported for service and wished for it, and will continue to be provided.

Measures applied include keeping a distance, wearing a mask, use of personal protective and hygiene equipment.

Contacts between different units of conscripts have been brought to a minimum. Conscripts who have been in contact with an infected person continue their service while in isolation.

In order to organise the service of active servicemen and officials, the commanders of units have been given the task to develop a plan for remote work; meetings are held virtually.

What kind of precautions have the Defence Forces taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the Defence Forces?

The Defence Forces have restricted the movements of active troops abroad and have reviewed the needs and objectives of foreign missions with a very critical eye. All service personnel arriving from other countries will be working from home for the restriction period, if possible. If possible, as a preventive measure, the service personnel who might have been exposed to potential carriers of the virus when abroad will also be working from home.

For each planned operation in Estonia, the heads of the structural units will decide whether or not to cancel the operations. If participants from outside the Defence Forces are invited to the event, the unit commander has the right to cancel the event or use remote work possibilities. Events that will become public events will be coordinated with the local governments.

Symptomatic service personnel have to work remotely.

Depending on the situation, the Commander of the Defence Forces has the right to impose restrictions on the movement of the members of the Defence Forces, and it is within the competence of the commanders of military units to authorise leave permits.

How is the work of the medical commissions of the Defence Resources Agency organised?

Conscripts are invited to appear before the medical commission at a fixed appointment time and one person at a time. Everyone is provided with personal protective equipment and the possibility to disinfect hands. Surfaces are cleaned regularly.

Prior to appearing before the medical commission, you should definitely open your e-health data either at the web portal of the military service or at the Patient Portal and enter your account number and, if you wish, your religious affiliation, to the military service web portal

What happens if a conscript or an active serviceman is infected with the coronavirus or is exposed to an infected person?

If a conscript gets infected, they will be in isolation until the end of treatment.

Conscripts and active servicemen who have been potentially exposed to people infected with the coronavirus will be excluded from active training activities for two weeks. During that time, food will be provided for them from the canteen with a thermos and left behind the door. Empty thermoses are disinfected. It is possible to contact the conscripts and servicemen who have been excluded from active training or who do not have the permission to leave the base, by calling them on their mobile phones. They can receive packages, if the package is sent by post, or left for them at the entrance of the military unit.

How does the coronavirus affect conscripts´ leave authorisations and holidays?

It is up to the head of each unit to issue or limit leave authorisations during the period until the vacations. The decision is based on the measures taken by the commanders to prevent the spread of the virus in a specific unit.

In the context of the spread of COVID, the conscripts who do not wish to get vaccinated have to take into consideration certain limitations, which are first and foremost necessary to protect their own health and the health of other people. Conscripts who have waived taking the vaccine are limited to no more than one leave authorisation per month, to decrease the number of possible contacts and the possibility of spreading the virus. Non-vaccination also creates an obligation to get tested for COVID-19 more frequently than others.

The more vaccinated people the Defence Forces have, the smaller the possibility for the spread of the virus and that is the best chance to return to our accustomed order of life, which includes issuing leave authorisations and, for instance, organising visitation days.

Conscripts who have been infected with the coronavirus, are in quarantine and self-isolation may go on leave according to the decision of the medical service, if they have been declared healthy or if no symptoms have occurred within a certain period, as the Defence Forces do not send people who may infect their close ones to the society. The unreceived leave days of the conscripts who were infected, in isolation or quarantine will be compensated later.

Upon return from leave, the Defence Forces administers a coronavirus test to unvaccinated conscripts and also to those who are symptomatic. If necessary, the conscripts are sent to isolation where the whole unit participates in training in isolation from others. It is also possible for the unit to organise the arrival of conscripts in a dispersed manner, in order to avoid a large number of conscripts coming into contact with each other.

How can I send a package to a conscript at a military unit?

Packages can be sent to conscripts by post. The name and subdivision of the conscript (battalion) must be written on the package. Do not put highly perishable goods in the package, as the delivery of packages might take some time.

For units located in Tallinn (Navy, Headquarters Support and Signal Battalion, Guard Battalion), package can be delivered to the entrance gate check-point. Safe conditions for receiving packages have been established at the gate.

Delivery addresses for packages

  • Taara Garrison: Kose tee 3a, Võru, 65603, Võru County
  • Tapa Garrison: Loode 35, 45106 Tapa, Lääne-Viru County
  • Paldiski Garrison: Rae põik 1, 76806 Paldiski, Harju County
  • Jõhvi Garrison: Pargi 55, 41537 Jõhvi, Ida-Viru County
  • Headquarters Support and Signal Battallion: Filtri tee 12, 10132, Tallinn, Harju County
  • Miinisadam (Navy and Guard Battalion): Tööstuse 54a, 10416 Tallinn

What happens if a serviceman serving in a foreign operation gets infected with the coronavirus?

All those who fall ill during a military operation are guaranteed comprehensive medical care in accordance with the existing order. The Defence Forces have the capability to provide emergency transport home to all servicemen who are sick or in need of medical assistance.

Does the spread of the coronavirus in any way affect the return home from a foreign mission for those servicemen who are currently about to end their service?

Due to the pandemic and the resulting movement restrictions, the period of stay of the units in the area of operation may be extended. The changes are made as needed and as the situation changes.


Last updated: 3 May 2021