Science and technology have given us an efficient tool for protecting ourselves from many contagious diseases – the vaccine. Vaccines guarantee people’s health both today and in the distant future. By vaccinating, you protect both yourself and everybody else from dangerous contagious diseases.
Modern high-quality vaccines with high immunogenicity ensure very good protection of the vaccinated person. It is sufficient for forming the herd immunity in the population and restricting or even terminating the spread of pathogens.
Although the value of immunization on the level of society and population is very high, we cannot fail to take into account the unique properties of the organism of the vaccinated person, especially in case of a child, as well as their age and overall condition of the immune system. A vaccine is a biologically active preparation, the general response patterns to the administration of which are well known, but individual characteristics are always possible. This causes the need to consider individual contra-indications of immunization. Since vaccines that are used in practice have undergone long-term and multi-stage clinical tests, these are usually of high quality and immunogenicity, and cause few adverse reactions. That is why there are few contraindications to immunization.
If a child that arrives in Estonia has documents concerning vaccination in a foreign country, the previous vaccinations of the child are compared to the Estonian vaccination plan and the lacking vaccinations are performed or the vaccination series are completed.
Vaccination statuses may be unknown, if children of immigrants or refugees arrive in Estonia, and the children do not have the vaccination documents/certificates or the immunization passport issued by a doctor. If these documents exist, the data is compared to the Estonian immunization plan and the lacking vaccinations are completed or immunization series are completed in compliance with the requirements in Estonia.
If immunization documents are absent, the child is deemed unvaccinated, and either tests are performed to confirm the existence of antibodies in the body or completing the Estonian vaccination plan is initiated.
In addition to the planned immunization of children and youths, adults need to be vaccinated as well, especially due to epidemiological indications. The most significant factors that cause the need to vaccinate adults are as follows:
- epidemiological risk situation (spread of a dangerous contagious disease),
- belonging in a risk group of infection (based on professional activity, specific behaviour, travelling, underlying or concomitant illness, belonging in communal communities)
In Estonia, vaccination is optional. A parent or the legal representative decides on the vaccination of a child or a person with restricted active legal capacity. A parent or a legal representative must submit a written application, if they wish to refuse vaccinations under the immunization plan. An application is not required for refusing other immunizations.
Additional information is available from your family doctor and from the website www.vaktsineeri.ee