TALLINN - The Estonian national expert committee on immunoprophylaxis recommends to vaccinate people who have recovered from COVID-19 at least six months after their recovery and continuously advises against combining different COVID-19 vaccines.
"The immunity received by recovering from COVID-19 lasts, according to various studies, for at least six months and on only rare occasions has the illness been contracted repeatedly. Thus the people who have recovered from the virus will not need to get vaccinated until six months later, and one dose will then be enough for boosting immunity," member of the expert committee Irja Lutsar said.
"There is currently not yet enough data on the need to revaccinate those who have completed their vaccination course," she added.
In order to curb the spread of the virus, is is important that as many people as possible should be vaccinated in the population at the earliest opportunity. For that reason, the expert committee recommends to delay the vaccination of people who have recovered from COVID-19 fewer than six months ago as they remain immune to the disease for some time after.
"For these people, vaccination is not yet necessary, and with vaccine stockpiles currently being limited, vaccination should be performed on people who are unprotected against COVID-19," Lutsar said.
For people who have recovered from COVID-19 fewer than six months ago, the committee recommends to get one vaccine injection to ensure long-term protection against the virus. If a person falls ill with COVID-19 within two weeks after getting the first vaccine dose, they should be given one dose of the vaccine six months after they have recovered from the disease. People who have received their first dose and catch COVID-19 more than two weeks after vaccination but before their second dose, do not need to get their booster shot.
The national expert committee's recommendation to use the same vaccine developer's product for both doses if the vaccination course consists of two jabs continuously remains valid. There is still not enough data on the safety and efficiency of combining different developers' vaccines or vaccines based on different technologies.
The aim of vaccination against COVID-19 is to protect at-risk groups who are more prone to contracting the infection or in whom the disease may take a more aggressive course, prevent and reduce the numbers of cases of illness and death caused by COVID-19, reduce the burden on the healthcare system and the economy and ensure the normal functioning of society.
The immunoprophylactic expert committee is a committee advising the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs on the national immunization plan and other matters related to vaccination, which brings together immunologists, allergists, infectologists, family doctors, pediatricians, nurses, representatives of the Health Board, the State Agency of Medicines, the Health Insurance Fund and the Ministry of Social Affairs.