COVID-19 vaccines

Four COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorised for use in Estonia and Europe. All of these vaccines are safe, effective and high-quality, and despite the accelerated marketing authorisation application, no concessions have been made for COVID-19 vaccines. Research and monitoring of vaccine safety will continue after the marketing authorisation is granted.
Restrictions in force

In order to avoid the spread of the virus and getting infected, to protect the life and health of the people and to ensure the functioning of the society, it is necessary to follow the enacted restrictions and guidelines.

Restrictions in force
The meters of risk level

The main meters are the number on people infected with COVID-19 and the number of people hospitalised. The Government reviews the risk level once a week.

Instructions for how to behave at different risk levels

Why should I get vaccinated?

Back to normal life

Vaccination against COVID-19 is probably the only sustainable solution to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and returning to normality. Everyone’s contribution is important to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

By vaccinating ourselves, we also protect those who cannot protect themselves. There are people among us who cannot be vaccinated because of their health. Vaccination is caring.

There is more freedom for vaccinated people and their lives are easier: if you are fully vaccinated, you get a COVID certificate, which makes it easier to go to the cinema, theatre, restaurants and anywhere else where you have to prove that you’re not contagious.

Vaccination significantly reduces the probability of serious illness

All the COVID-19 vaccines available in Estonia reduce the probability of serious illness and hospitalisation.

Vaccination will protect you against COVID-19 for at least a year. Even if vaccination has side effects, they are mild in most cases and pass within a few days. The course of the COVID-19 disease is unpredictable and can cause long-term damage to the health and quality of life of both young and older people.

Vaccination prevents transmission of the virus

You curb the transmission of the virus when you vaccinate yourself. Vaccinated people are considerably less likely to contract the coronavirus than unvaccinated people. In addition to reducing the severity and duration of the disease, vaccination also helps prevent the virus from spreading.

Which vaccines are available in Estonia?

Who is it administered to?

People aged 50 and over.

How effective is it?

Clinical trials indicate that the average efficacy of the Vaxzevria vaccine in the prevention of symptomatic disease is 60%.

'How many doses are required?

Two doses, preferably 12 weeks apart. Maximum protection is achieved 15 days after the second dose.

How long will it protect me?

Experts believe that immunity lasts for at least six months, but more data is coming in and it’s likely that actual immunity will last longer.

How does it work?

The Vaxzevria vaccine prepares the body to defend itself against COVID-19. The vaccine contains another virus (of the adenovirus family) that has been modified to contain the gene needed to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein is located on the outside of a coronavirus and is how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

  • When a person gets the vaccine, it carries the SARS-CoV-2 gene into the body’s cells. The cells create the spike protein on the basis of the information on the gene.

  • The human immune system recognises the manufactured spike protein as foreign to the body and starts producing antibodies and specific T-cells against it, which later destroy the virus when the body comes in contact with it.

  • The adenovirus in the vaccine does not replicate and does not cause disease.

What are the risks associated? 

The most common side effects with Vaxzevria in the trials were usually mild or moderate and got better within a few days after vaccination. 

The most common side effects are tenderness, pain and bruising at the injection site, headache, tiredness, muscle pain, general feeling of being unwell, chills, fever, joint pain and nausea (feeling sick). They may affect more than 1 in 10 people.

Vomiting and diarrhoea may affect up to 1 in 10 people. Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), decreased appetite, dizziness, sleepiness, lethargy (lack of energy), sweating, abdominal (belly) pain, itching, rash and urticaria (itchy rash) may affect up to 1 in 100 people. 

Allergic reactions have occurred in people receiving the vaccine, including some cases of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

More detailed information at the European Medicines Agency website.

Who is it administered to?

People aged 12 and over.

How effective is it?

Clinical trials indicate that the vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate, even among people in the COVID-19 risk group (people suffering from asthma and diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease and hypertension and people whose body mass index is ≥30).

How many doses are required?

Two doses six weeks apart. Maximum protection is achieved seven days after the second dose.

How long will it protect me?

Experts believe that immunity lasts for at least six months, but more data is coming in and it’s likely that actual immunity will last longer.

How does it work?

The Comirnaty vaccine prepares the body to defend itself against COVID-19. Comirnaty contains an mRNA molecule that acts as a guide for cells to make the spike protein. The spike protein is located on the outside of a coronavirus and is how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

  • When a person gets the vaccine, some body cells will produce spike proteins for a while, based on the information in the mRNA.
  • The human immune system recognises the manufactured spike protein as foreign to the body and starts producing antibodies and specific T-cells against it, which later destroy the virus when the body comes in contact with it.
  • The mRNA in the vaccine degrades in the body in a short time after vaccination.

What are the risks associated?

The most common side effects with Comirnaty were usually mild or moderate and got better within a few days after vaccination. These included pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills, fever and diarrhoea. They affected more than 1 in 10 people.

Redness at the injection site, nausea and vomiting occurred in less than 1 in 10 people.  Itching at the injection site, pain in the arm where the vaccine was injected, enlarged lymph nodes, difficulty sleeping, feeling unwell, decreased appetite, lack of energy, excessive sweating, night sweats, weakness, and allergic reactions were uncommon side effects affecting less than 1 in 100 people.

Weakness in muscles on one side of face occurred rarely in less than 1 in 1,000 people. A very small number of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have occurred with Comirnaty.  Allergic reactions have also occurred with Comirnaty, including a very small number of cases of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

More detailed information at the European Medicines Agency website

Who is it administered to?

People aged 12 and over. According to the recommendation of the Estonian expert committee on immunoprophylaxis, the vaccine can also be administered to pregnant women (after consulting a doctor).

How effective is it?

Clinical trials indicate that the efficacy of the vaccine is 94.1%.

How many doses are required?

Two doses four weeks apart. Maximum protection is achieved 14 days after the second dose.

How long will it protect me?

Experts believe that immunity lasts for at least six months, but more data is coming in and it’s likely that actual immunity will last longer.

How does it work?

The Spikevax vaccine prepares the body to defend itself against COVID-19. The vaccine contains an mRNA molecule with instructions on how to produce the spike protein of the virus. The spike protein is located on the outside of a coronavirus and is how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

  • When a person gets the vaccine, some body cells will produce spike proteins for a while, based on the information in the mRNA.
  • The human immune system recognises the manufactured spike protein as foreign to the body and starts producing antibodies and specific T-cells against it, which later destroy the virus when the body comes in contact with it.
  • The mRNA in the vaccine degrades in the body in a short time after vaccination.

What are the risks associated?

The most common side effects with Spikevax in the trials were usually mild or moderate and got better within a few days after vaccination.

The most common side effects are pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, chills, fever, swollen or tender lymph nodes under the arm, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting. They may affect more than 1 in 10 people.

Redness, hives and rash at the injection site, and rash may affect less than 1 in 10 people. Itching at the injection site and dizziness may affect less than 1 in 100 people. Swelling of the face, weakness in muscles on one side of the face  and hypoaesthesia may affect less than 1 in 1,000 people.

A very small number of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis  have occurred with Spikevax. Allergic reactions have also occurred in people receiving the vaccine, including a very small number of cases of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

More detailed information at the European Medicines Agency website

Who is it administered to?

Administered to people aged 18 and over (and it’s also recommended for vaccination of older people with mobility difficulties at home, vaccination of hospitalised risk groups or in other situations where a single-dose vaccine is more reasonable).

How effective is it?

Clinical trials indicate that the efficacy of the vaccine is 67%.

'How many doses are required?

One dose. Maximum protection is achieved 14 days after vaccination.

How long will it protect me?

Experts believe that immunity lasts for at least six months, but more data is coming in and it’s likely that actual immunity will last longer.

How does it work?

The Janssen vaccine prepares the body to defend itself against COVID-19. The vaccine contains another virus (of the adenovirus family) that has been modified to contain the gene needed to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein is located on the outside of a coronavirus and is how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

  • When a person gets the vaccine, it carries the SARS-CoV-2 gene into the body’s cells. The cells create the spike protein on the basis of the information on the gene.
  • The human immune system recognises the manufactured spike protein as foreign to the body and starts producing antibodies and specific T-cells against it, which later destroy the virus when the body comes in contact with it.
  • The adenovirus in the vaccine does not replicate and does not cause disease.

What are the risks associated?

The most common side effects with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen in the trials were usually mild or moderate and got better within 1 or 2 days after vaccination.

The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, headache, tiredness, muscle pain and nausea. They may affect more than 1 in 10 people.

Coughing, joint pain, fever, chills, as well as redness and swelling at injection site may affect up to 1 in 10 people. Sneezing, tremor, dizziness, paraesthesia , throat pain, rash, sweating, diarrhoea, muscle weakness, pain in the arms and legs, backache, weakness and feeling generally unwell may affect up to 1 in 100 people. Rare side effects (which may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people) are venous thromboembolism, lymphadenopathy , hypoesthesia , tinnitus , vomiting, hypersensitivity and itchy rash.

Thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia and Guillain-Barré syndrome may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people. Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), have occurred in people receiving the vaccine.

More information at the European Medicines Agency website

What are the side effects of the vaccines?

Common side effects

The most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are:

  • pain and tenderness at the injection site
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain
  • feeling generally unwell
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain and nausea

Side effects may occur after the first or second dose. Most of the side effects are mild or moderate and pass within a few days.

Uncommon side effects

Contact your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms after vaccination:

  • weakness or drowsiness
  • abnormal/racing heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • swelling of the lips, face or throat
  • hives or rash
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal pain

An allergic or anaphylactic reaction generally occurs within a short period of time after vaccination. Therefore, you should remain under the supervision of a healthcare professional for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine injection.

Are the vaccines safe?

  • All of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted marketing authorisation in Europe have been assessed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA ) as safe and efficient in fighting the coronavirus. Vaccines are analysed by scientists and authorities to ensure that they meet all the quality, safety and efficacy requirements in force.
  • No medicine or vaccine is ever completely free of side effects, but authorised medicines and vaccines offer benefits that outweigh the potential risks (i.e. the vaccine-preventable disease and its complications are more severe or more dangerous to health than the side effects associated with the vaccine). Close monitoring and analysis of the efficacy and safety of vaccines continues after the marketing authorisation has been granted and the vaccine is taken into use.

Who should be notified of side effects?

  • Side effects may occur after vaccination. The most common of these in the case of COVID-19 vaccines are pain and swelling at the injection site, headache, fever, feeling unwell, nausea, muscle and joint pain. They usually pass in a couple of days.
  • If you develop a health problem that is serious or lasts longer than three days after vaccination, contact your doctor or call the GP helpline 1220 for advice on what to do next.
  • Reporting any side effects to the State Agency of Medicines is the obligation of the vaccinators, but you can also inform the Agency yourself of any health-related complaints caused by vaccination using the report form on the Agency’s website. The State Agency of Medicines publishesinformationon the received side effect reports once a week on Mondays.

    Don't believe false allegations

    • There are a number of false allegations surrounding COVID-19 vaccines, the goals of which are to scare people. For example, no chips are injected in your body with the vaccine, the vaccine does not leave pathogens in your body, does not contain life-threatening poisons or metals, does not cause infertility, etc.
    • If you hear or read something that makes you suspicious, look for information from reliable sources. You can read more about the myths and false allegations about COVID-19 vaccines on the vaccinate.ee website. You can also consult your doctor or call the GP helpline 1220, where medical professionals answer your questions 24h a day.

    Last updated: 10.11.2021