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Vaccines

How can I get vaccinated against COVID-19?

A vaccination appointment can be booked:

  • at the digital registry at http://www.digilugu.ee
  • by calling 1247 (every day between 08.00 and 20.00)
  • at a pharmacy: find a pharmacy closest to you and book an appointment at the web page vaktsineeriapteegis.ee (in Estonian)
  • by calling the registry of the local hospital or medical institution.

It is also possible to get immunised without prior registration in vaccination buses and vaccination points. You can find all the options in different towns and counties from the web page vaktsineeri.ee -- locations that have no prior booking requirement have a green label "without registration".

Within the limits of Tallinn, a group of at least ten adults have the option of ordering a vaccine ambulance for themselves. The service can be ordered by sending an e-mail to ltkhvak[at]keskhaigla[dot]ee. The query must contain an address where the ambulance is ordered, a date, the desired time of day, the number of people who want to get vaccinated (10 at minimum) and their personal identification codes. The vaccination ambulance team will contact the person who submitted the order to agree upon the exact time.

The location of vaccination is not connected to a person's official place of residence: everyone can book an appointment and go to get vaccinated in an area suitable to them all across Estonia. A booking for a minor must be done by his legal representative.

In addition to hospitals and private health care service providers it is possible to get vaccinated at schools (more information: vaktsineeri.ee (in Estonian). The elderly and people in risk groups also continue to be vaccinated by family doctors.

Make certain to be on time for your vaccination appointment or let the vaccinating institution know at first chance if you will not be able to go to your agreed upon vaccination for some reason.

If you need further counselling on COVID-19 vaccinations, we recommend that you consult with your family doctor or call the Family Doctor's Advice Line 1220 or 634 66 30. The calls are answered by medical professionals 24/7. Advice is given in Estonian and Russian (advice in English every day between 15.00 and 17.00).

Are all the approved COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes. All the COVID-19 vaccines that have received a marketing authorisation in Europe have been assessed to be sufficiently safe and effective in fighting the coronavirus by the European Medicines Agency. The vaccines are analysed by scientists and authorities whose task it is to guarantee that they would meet all quality, safety, and efficacy requirements in force. The conditions for receiving a marketing authorisation have not been loosened due to the pandemic and no compromises have been made in the evaluation criteria (safety, quality, efficacy).

No vaccine or medicine is ever 100% free of side effects but a marketing authorisation is given to medicines and vaccines that offer a benefit that is bigger than the possible risks (suffering through the disease that the vaccine prevents and the complications are harder or more dangerous to health than the side effect linked to the vaccine). Careful monitoring of the efficacy and safety of the vaccines continues even after the marketing authorisation is issued and the vaccine is taken up.

If you need further counselling in order to make a decision about the COVID-19 vaccination, we recommend consulting with your family doctor or calling the Family Doctor's Advice Line 1220 or 634 66 30. Medical professionals are answering the calls there 24/7. Advice is given in Estonian and Russian (it is possible to get advice in English every day between 15.00 and 17.00).

Read more:

Are all approved COVID-19 vaccines suitable for everybody?

As several different vaccines are on the market and being developed, their characteristics are certain to somewhat differ from each other.

Whether a vaccine is suitable or unsuitable for somebody is noted on the information sheet of the vaccine. Who should be vaccinated and how is best known to the medical worker who carries out the vaccination.

If you need further counselling in order to make a decision about the COVID-19 vaccination, we recommend consulting with your family doctor or calling the Family Doctor's Advice Line 1220 or 634 66 30. Medical professionals are answering the calls there 24/7. Advice is given in Estonian and Russian (it is possible to get advice in English every day between 15.00 and 17.00).

More about the vaccines can be read from here: https://vaktsineeri.ee/en/covid-19/covid-19-vaccines/

What is the effectiveness of the vaccines used in Estonia?

One of the most important goals of the COVID-19 vaccines is to avoid severe (requiring hospitalisation) and mortal forms of the disease. All vaccines in use fulfil this goal very effectively, all vaccines offer a practically hundred percent protection from severe forms of the disease.

Vaccination also manages to avoid most of the mild and moderate cases of the COVID-19 disease: the Pfizer vaccine does it at the rate of 95% and the Moderna vaccine at the rate of 94%.

The effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine in avoiding symptomatic disease is 60% (even though it is possible to increase the effectiveness to over 80% by using different dosing schemes).

What are mRNA and DNA vaccines?

With these vaccines, the genetic material of the pathogen is delivered into the organism in the form of either DNA or RNA, and based on the information contained in it, the organism itself will synthesize the part of the pathogen necessary for the creation of immunity, i.e. the antigen. As a rule, this is some protein of the pathogen, in the case of the coronavirus the spike protein on its surface. One way of describing the situation would be that if an organism needs food daily, in the case of one vaccine a ready meal is delivered, in the case of another the organism is delivered a recipe and the organism itself is capable of preparing the food with the help of the recipe.

Compared to a protein, the mRNA is a simpler molecule and thus the production of mRNA is generally faster than the production of vaccines that have been in use up until now. The idea of vaccines based on mRNA is actually already decades old and this type of vaccines have been tested in clinical studies for different infectious diseases. For different reasons, none of them have been taken into use on humans thus far. There is reason to hope that technological development will allow it now.

More information is available here: https://somblogi.wordpress.com/2020/12/22/triin-suvi-ja-pille-saalik-ravimiametist-selgitavad-kuidas-toimivad-meie-kehas-koroonavaktsiini-erinvad-tuubid/

Is it necessary to vaccinate people who have recovered from COVID-19 and when?

The state immunoprophylaxis expert committee recommends vaccinating people who have recovered from COVID-19 with one dose on the 6th month after recovery and consider the course of vaccinations completed with this.

The committee recommends vaccinating with one dose even if more than six months have passed since recovery from COVID-19, in order to ensure long term protection.

If a person gets COVID-19 within two weeks of receiving the first dose, he considered recovered from COVID-19, vaccinated with one dose on the 6th month after recovery, and his course of vaccinations should be considered completed with this.

A person who has been vaccinated with one dose and gets COVID-19 more than two weeks after receiving the first dose but before receiving the second dose, does not need to be administered the second dose and the course of vaccinations may be considered completed.

It is important to understand that these are three different certificates -- immunisation certificate, test certificate and recovery certificate. Based on scientific data, the council of Estonian doctors and scientists has issued a recommendation to vaccinate people who have recovered six months after recovery with one dose. Meaning, until then the recovery certificate is valid and later the immunisation certificate.

Why am I asked before vaccination whether I have had the virus?

Having had COVID-19 is not a contraindication to vaccination. According to the current recommendation, the people who have recovered are also being vaccinated with one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The level of antibodies provided by vaccination is tens of times higher than we get just by having the virus. This will also give us longer immunity.

While the vaccine volumes are limited, the preferred target group should be those who have not had COVID-19 within the last 6 months.

If a person has had the virus without being aware of it himself, he will be vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, which is not dangerous to the organism.

What does it mean that I have to get vaccinated twice? Does the first dose already have some kind of a benefit?

Most of the vaccines we have received thus far require two doses. Even though a certain immune protection occurs even after the first dose, it is not strong enough, which is why it is important to get both shots if the vaccine requires a two-dose course.

The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine course requires only one shot.

With which vaccine manufacturers has Estonia concluded advance purchase agreements to date?

The joint European Union vaccine portfolio contains the vaccines and vaccine candidates of 8 vaccine manufacturers. The European Commission has signed advance purchase agreements with the following vaccine manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac and Moderna.

Estonia has currently joined the advance purchase agreements with 5 vaccine manufacturers -- AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Pfizer/BioNTech, Curevac and Moderna. Estonia has the possibility of joining the Sanofi advance purchase agreements later.

Additionally, the negotiations are ongoing between the European Commission and the vaccine manufacturer Novavax. At the request of several member states, the negotiations have also been started with the vaccine manufacturer Valneva.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect the vaccinated person if the virus mutates?

Viruses mutating is a regular process. All mutations do not lead to reduced efficacy of the developed vaccines but the genetic changes in virus strains are still followed closely in order to evaluate their effect on the vaccines that have been or are being developed.

What kind of an interval must be left between the two shots of the vaccine?

The manufacturer has determined the intervals between administering the vaccine doses according to the results of clinical studies. The period prescribed by the manufacturer provides the highest efficacy of the vaccine, based on the results of the studies. For this reason it is important to administer the second dose at the prescribed time, generally no sooner than the summary of the vaccine properties suggests. For instance, if a person becomes ill and cannot go the get the second dose at the agreed upon time, the second dose can be administered later but preferably at first opportunity after recovery.

The interval between the two shots by vaccine:

  • the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine: 6 weeks (maximum protection is achieved 7 days after receiving the second dose)
  • the Moderna vaccine: 4 weeks (maximum protection is achieved 14 days after receiving the second dose)
  • the AstraZeneca vaccine: 12 weeks (maximum protection is achieved 15 days after receiving the second dose)

Am I allowed to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and tick-borne encephalitis or flu vaccine at the same time?

The vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis (the so-called tick vaccine):

  • The interval between the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis should be 14 days.

Flu vaccine:

  • There in no fixed interval of time that should be left between the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine. The vaccines can be received on the same day as well, but in orde to identify possible reactions, the shots should be administered to different arms.

Is it allowed to work out after vaccination?

If you are feeling good, you may work out. If you get side effects like fever, we recommend refraining from working out.

Are all vaccines equal for the EU digital COVID certificate -- e.g. if some countries have used the Russian, Chinese or some other vaccines, would that paper also allow entry into Estonia?

The draft of the EU digital COVID certificate foresees that all vaccines that have received the approval of the European Medicines Agency (i.e. that have an EU marketing authorisation) have to be accepted in issuing the certificates and giving exemptions. Member states have been given free reign when it comes to the other vaccines. In addition to the previously mentioned, Estonia also accepts those vaccines and vaccine schemes that do not yet have the approval of the European Medicines Agency but are a recognized scheme in the country of departure. Estonia is currently vaccinating with the four vaccines that have received the approval of the European Medicines Agency (AZ, Pfizer, Moderna and J&J).

 

 

Last updated: 27 September 2021