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Vaccination insurance comes into force in May

In May, the law to provide vaccine damage payments to those whose health got severely damaged due to a vaccination, comes in to force. The objectives of this vaccine insurance law is to support people with severe long-term health conditions and increase the trustworthiness of vaccinations.

“The quality and safety of the medicines used in Estonia is very high—post-vaccination health damages are very rare. The objectives of the vaccine insurance is to increase the confidence to get vaccinated, and support those with a health condition that has lasted for four months or longer. We also encourage people to get vaccinated and protect themselves against a severe disease,” said the minister of health and labour, Tanel Kiik.

To be eligible for the vaccine insurance, you'd have to have a serious health problem that has lasted at least four months, a person dies, and the connection between the vaccination and the health problem is likely.  Health conditions must be recorded by the doctor.

The head of finances of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, Riho Peek said that to apply, documents can be sent via email, post or the Patient's Portal www.digilugu.ee. To find the best way to apply, it's recommended filling as short questionnaire on the Estonian Health Insurance website. “After the application has submitted, it will be assessed by the Health Board, and if all eligibility conditions are met, it'll be sent to the State Agency of Medicines, who decides whether the health conditions are related to the vaccination. The whole process can take up to 90 days,” he explained.

Severe health damages are divided into five categories, and every one of them has a fixed insurance payment: 1) moderate health damage – 2000 euros; 2) health damage with an average severity 10 000 euros; 3) severe health damage – 25 000 euros; 4) very severe health condition – 50 000 euros; 5) extremely severe health condition or death – 100 000 euros.

To identify new side effects, the State Agency of Medicines is gathering data about the reactions of the medicines and vaccines. Maia Uusküla, the Head of the Bureau of Pharmacovigilance in the Estonian Agency of Medicines, said that the State Agency of Medicines has received about 7000 reports about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, including 900 reports of the non-effectiveness of the vaccine. It's about 0.35% of all vaccine doses injected in Estonia. “363 reports describe severe reactions, which is 0,018% out of all doses injected, and by the assessment of the State Agency of Medicines, in 75 cases it's likely that the side effects are related to the vaccination. In most cases, reports create side effects noted in the information leaf letter of the vaccine,” said Maia Uusküla.

By her words, not all of these 75 cases are eligible for the damage payment due to the differences on the severity of the reaction and the severity of the health damage. “Not all of these cases described health damages that lasted longer than four months. For example, more than 30 people had allergic reactions, and seven people needed a short-term hospital treatment due to vomiting. Also, cases where the reaction is not related to the vaccine but the injection, don't qualify,” Maia Uusküla explained. She emphasized that the safety profile of the vaccines is good, and the Estonian experience has proved that most of the side effects are moderate, already identified and will pass within a couple of days.

During the first stage, all COVID-19 vaccination cases will be covered that happened during 2021, or 2022. From 2023, other vaccines are included.

  • If there are complications after the vaccination, you should seek a medical help. Depending on the reaction, contact your family physician, or turn to the AE.
  • The doctor will document your general state of health, all symptoms, and prescribe treatment based on the results of medical test.
  • If the complications are severe, and last longer than for four months, or a person dies, an application for the vaccination insurance can be filled via the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.
  • The application will be sent within the 30 days to the State Agency of Medicines, to get an assessment, whether the health complications were related to the vaccination.
  • The State Agency of Medicines have 90 days to assess if these complications or the death of a patient was related to the previous vaccination.
  • Based on the assessment, and the possible damage caused by the vaccine, the Health Insurance Fund will decide within 30 days the amount of the Vaccination Damage Payment.
  • If the decision includes the Payment, the bank transfer will be done within 30 days by the Health Insurance Fund.
  • In case of a disagreement, a person who applied, have a right to object to the decision. The solution will be decided within 90 days.

More information is available here.

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 5 months after their recovery or their last vaccination. 
  • After getting a booster dose, you need to create a new vaccination certificate in digilugu.ee 
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