What are the advantages of being vaccinated when travelling?
For a year after getting fully vaccinated, people in Estonia are free from the obligation to self-isolate after entering the country or being a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
The same rule applies in many countries, especially in the EU. However, check the requirements and restriction about every country you travel through or to. It may happen, that testing is mandatory even when you transit (you spend less than 24hrs in this country or change flights in its airport), or you might need extra documentation to enter the country, go through quarantine, etc.
NB! From the 1st of February 2022, the duration of a vaccination certificate in the EU is 9 months.
The vaccination certificate adds opportunities to make your travels easier, participate in large events, but it doesn’t guarantee you the same rights abroad as you’d have in Estonia!
The EU COVID-certificate issued after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 gives you the freedom to travel in many countries without testing. However, travel restrictions and requirements change often. The responsibility to be aware of all the requirements in the destinations lies on the traveller.
NB! To travel abroad, you might need to update your certificate!
Vaccination certificates that were created before the 21st of October 2021, and that are not updated, are valid only for 6 months.
To travel abroad, you need to create a new vaccination certificate in a Patient’s Portal digilugu.ee In Estonia, you can use this certificate up to year since finishing the course of your vaccination.
Travelling and the 2nd dose of vaccine
To become fully vaccinated, you need two doses of vaccine (except Janssen vaccine). In Estonia, your vaccination is completed, if you’ve recovered from COVID-19, and you’ve had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It’s important to keep in mind that the vaccination-certificate is valid when the maximum protection is achieved, not on the date of your vaccination.
As given by the produces, the maximum protection is achieved:
- Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine — 7 days after the second dose
- AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine — 14 days after the second dose
- Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine — 14 days after the second dose
- Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine — 14 days after one dose of the vaccine
To simplify the communication, many countries have decided to set the maximum protection day for 14 days after the vaccination, so before travelling, check the requirements of your destination country.
People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 and have had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, are also considered fully vaccinated, so their state is equal to the people who’ve had two doses. To check your data, visit Estonian patient’s portal digilugu.ee, where you can apply for, and print out your EU digital COVID-19 certificate that proves you’re either fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. Experts have recommended vaccinating people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 with one dose. In those cases, the health care worker who vaccinates you, will mark your vaccination state as completed, and the dose on your certificate is one dose from one (1/1).
If your destination country requirements involve both doses of vaccine if a 2-dose vaccine is used, then if your vaccinator agrees with it, it’s possible to do so even if you’ve recovered from COVID-19. In that case, two doses out of two (2/2) is marked on your certificate.
What to consider when travelling with children?
Children, who are too young to have the opportunity to get vaccinated, have different rules from adults when travelling — always check them from the official sources of your destination country. The diffrences may be in travel documents, testing requirements, etc. When children are old enought to have the opportunity to get vaccinated, and you wish to use that opportunity before your travels, please:
- Book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment via Estonian patient’s portal digilugu.ee, using the website vaktsineeriapteegis.ee, call to the state information line 1247 or to your local hospital or health care institution (family physician, pharmacy). Digital bookings must be done by a parent or a carer.
- Consider that the second dose of vaccine is done after a certain period of time, and that can’t be changed much — plan your holidays after getting vaccinated, not the opposite.
It’s worthy to know that in many countries, restrictions and rules for children 12 years and older (the ones who have the opportunity to be vaccinated) are exactly the same as for adults: it includes testing, wearing face masks and other.
Read more about the vaccination of children and youth in Estonia.