Organization of vaccination
With regard to vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, the objectives of organising vaccinations on a national level are:
- preventing the occurrence and spread of disease outbreaks in a costeffective and safe way;
- decreasing the contracting of diseases;
- preventing complications and deaths, and thereby improving people's quality of life.
The country is seeking to maximize benefits to citizens through the organization of vaccination, which would be in line with economic opportunities.
Deciding on vaccination
Vaccination is voluntary in Estonia. A parent (or legal representative of a child) will make vaccination decisions on behalf of children, and express their decisions in writing. A healthcare worker can provide support to a parent, so that they can make a well thought out decision, by answering the parent’s questions and providing science-based information on vaccination.
Before vaccination, the healthcare worker checks the patient's health and determines whether or not there is any temporary or permanent contraindications. In the case of contraindications, vaccination will not be carried out or it will be postponed.
Vaccines provided on the basis of the immunisation schedule are free for everyone.
Who conducts the vaccination?
Newborns are vaccinated against tuberculosis already in the maternity ward. The following vaccination injections are provided by a family physician or nurse. School children and adolescents are given vaccination injections on the basis of the immunisation schedule by the healthcare worker at school. Any vaccination conducted at school must be preceded by a written consent from the parent. If the parent decides to refuse the vaccination injection, they must also express this request in writing.
Vaccination outside the immunisation schedule
Vaccines not included in the national immunisation schedule can be administered:
- at the family physician;
- outpatient centres providing vaccination services (in infectious disease offices);
- at private practices.
A fees is charged for these vaccination injections and the price is determined by the service provider.
How is vaccination registration conducted?
A healthcare provider registers all vaccinations on paper or electronically in the immunisation book and adds entries to the immunisation passport and health card. The person’s name, age, time of administering the vaccine, the exact name of the vaccine, batch number and time of validity is added to the immunisation book or electronic database.
The immunisation passport belongs to the patient, who should always take it along when going in for vaccination. In addition to personal recordkeeping, an immunisation passport may be required, for example, when traveling abroad (some countries require certain vaccinations) or moving away from Estonia (in order to prove that the person has received certain vaccination injections).
The immunisation passport is given to a newborn's parent in the maternity ward; others receive it from their family physician or other healthcare provider.
Emergency medicine departments of health care institutions provide tetanus and rabies vaccine for people who have been attacked by an animal or experienced some other relevant trauma. As emergency aid, this is free of charge for the patient.
Vaccination of persons endangered at work
An employer shall organise and finance the vaccination necessary to protect their employees if the employees are put at risk of contracting infectious diseases. You can read more about this here (link to the section: Vaccination of persons endangered at work).
Travel medical consultations and vaccinations are provided by a number of travel medical offices and some family physicians. You can read more about this here (link to the travel vaccination page).