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Third doses: what’s the difference between the booster and the extra dose?

The European Medicines Agency decided on the 4th of October that third doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 are permitted. Estonian objective is to focus on the people who are not vaccinated yet. The state Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee recommends the booster jab for people at least 65 years of age, and for adult care home inhabitants, but no sooner than six months after they became fully vaccinated the first time.

Third doses are distinguished into extra doses and booster doses.

Extra dose

 The extra dose is for people with severe immune defiance, who aren't getting enough protection with two doses (one with Janssen). These are people with transplanted organs or cancer patients who get immune-suppressive treatment.

By the decision of the European Medicines Agency, the extra dose can be done with Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) and Spikevax (Moderna) no sooner than 28 days after the second dose. Giving extra doses for people who need it, has already started in Estonia.

Read more, who need extra doses (the document is in Estonian): Advice for healthcare workers about additional dose from COVID-19 Vaccine 

Booster dose

Booster jabs might become necessary for everybody after some time period because of the weakened immunity. A booster dose might be considered 6 months after the second dose. No matter the previous COVID-19 vaccinations, the committee recommends doing booster jabs with the Pfizer/BioNTech.

Estonian experts advise having a booster jab not sooner than 6 months after finishing the vaccination, it's recommended to people 65 years of age and older, and to all people in the care come at least 18 years of age.

Booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will become available for people working in the healthcare, education and social sectors, also after 6 months has passed from becoming fully vaccinated the first time.

The rest of the adult population will have the access to the booster jab after 8 months of their vaccination.

Everything you should know about the COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccination is free of charge for all people living in Estonia, even without the national health insurance.
  • Vaccination is voluntary.
  • Vaccination is open to all people who are at least 5 years old.
  • Compared to COVID-19 illness, vaccination is safe, and generally, the side effects pass quickly.
  • Booster doses are available only for adults, and the time for a booster jab is 2 months after finishing the vaccination course with the Janssen vaccine, and 3 months after finishing the vaccination course with AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
  • Booster doses for people, who are recovered from COVID-19 are recommended 6 months after their recovery or their last vaccination.
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