Staying healthy while travelling

When travelling – especially if your destination is a tropical country – it is wise to consult a doctor first. Inoculations are compulsory for travelling to many countries. Some Estonian hospitals offer, as a fee service, traveller’s medicine offices where you can get answers to many of your questions. There you can also receive the vaccinations you need, and the international certificate on yellow fever immunization.

Infectious diseases and vaccinations

You can be vaccinated against up to seven diseases at one visit. Antibodies develop in a person’s body within 10-14 days of receiving the inoculation. Thus the minimum interval between vaccination and departure for your trip is two weeks. Three weeks is recommended as then the immunity will be able to develop at a high level of certainty.

Vaccination depends on the travel destination and the time

  • No special vaccination is necessary for a business or conference trip of several days if the conditions are relatively safe;
  • On tourist trips of one or two weeks or more where places with poor hygienic conditions are visited, vaccinations should be obtained for some of the more commonly occurring diseases;
  • One must definitely obtain vaccinations in the case of travel or visits to relatives lasting several months;
  • One must obtain vaccinations in the case of visits to risk areas of more than six months in duration or repeated visits.

When travelling to Oceania, and likewise to Asia, Africa and Latin America, first ask for a doctor’s advice regarding potential infectious diseases and the necessary inoculations. There are countries where a vaccination certificate is considered as important as a passport. It is also necessary to take into account that many inoculations must be obtained many months before going on the trip.

You should consider that typhus, cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery may be communicated by contraindicated food and water. If the hygiene standards of a food service provider appear to be substandard, you should avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products, raw meat, salads, salad dressing and seafood. It is better to pass on an exotic dish than to suffer gastrointestinal distress later.

Travelling with medicinal products

Travellers arriving to or departing from Estonia have the right to carry medicinal products for personal use. Depending on the specific medicine, the amount of medicines and country of destination a permit from the State Agency of Medicines may be required. This permit will verify that the medications have been prescribed to you by your physician and acquired from an authorized pharmacy and that you are not engaging in illegal trade of medicines.

If you are travelling with medicines that do classify as narcotic or psychotropic drugs, the need for a permit depends on whether or not you visit a Schengen area country and also on how much of these medicines you will be taking with you on your travels.

If you are travelling to (or visit during your travels) any of the Schengen area countries and bringing along narcotic and/or psychotropic drugs, you will need a Schengen certificate issued by the competent authority in your Schengen state of permanent residence.

Find out if you need a permit when you travelling with medicines.

Read more about travelling with medicines from the website of the State Agency of Medicines.

Travel insurance in the European Union

Those insured by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, who are staying in a European Union member state as a tourist, receive the medical care they need on equal footing with insured persons who reside in that country. When travelling on European Union territory, carry a European health insurance card or substitute certificate.

The European Health Insurance Card can be ordered through the state portal service “Ordering a European Health Insurance Card”.

Those moving to another member state receive medical care on equal footing with people insured there; the only difference is that Estonia as the insuring country pays the other country for the costs of providing medical treatment to the person. A person with Estonian health care insurance who lives in another member state must obtain the certificate in the required form from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund’s department and register with the country of location’s institution that is responsible for health insurance.

Last amended: 17-07-2017 00:00 | Compiled by: Health Insurance Fund, State Agency of Medicines