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Julius Laine | 20.1.2021

COVID-19 Vaccines

The Corona epidemic in Finland is currently getting better but still prone to get much worse if the restrictions are not followed properly. 7-day-average (infections/day) has gone down from 450 to 250, from mid December to this day.

As has been widely reported by media corona vaccinations are well under way. Vaccinations were delivered to Finland in rather small amounts at first but the numbers are increasing and new vaccines are being approved by the EU. At this time, there are two corona vaccines approved by EU and used in Finland. Those are both mRNA vaccines and manufactured by BioNTech-Pfizeri and Moderna.

AstraZenecas adeno vector based vaccine (Made of DNA rather than RNA and, thus more stable and doesn’t require liquid nitrogen to store) is being reviewed by ECDC in next week and it is possible that hundreds of thousands it those vaccines are delivered to Finland in mid February.

There are numerous other vaccines being developed including vaccines by Curevac, Jansen-Group, Sanofi-GSK and Noravax. First ones get approved by ECDC probably at the end of Spring and for others it might next year when we get to use them.

Vaccination group order

There are approximately 4,5 million people to be vaccinated in Finland (over 16-year-olds). Vaccines are given in the following order:

  • Health care professionals treating corona patients and employees and residents of nursing homes
    • Around 150 000 people
    • Most of this group have already been vaccinated
  • People over 70 years of age
    • Around 800 000 people
  • People with high risk to develop severe symptoms
    • Number of people not yet specific
  • Rest of the population (over 16-years of age)
    • Around 3 million people
    • This group will start getting vaccinatios probably in May at the earliest

How the vaccines effects transmission of coronavirus is not yet known. However its known that an infection without any symptoms is significantly less contagios than one with symptoms. Coronavirus vaccines prevent symptoms both mild and severe. Vaccination doesn’t affect on coronatests (PCR and antigen) and so even people with vaccinations can be checked for coronavirus infection reliably. If you had a coronavirus infection you can still get the vaccine. It is not known that vaccines would have a different effect on mutated strands of coronavirus and so vaccines should also prevent symptoms from the mutated strands.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Coronavirus vaccinations are managed by health care districts and cities may have variable methods to ensure vaccinations of groups. However, it is probable that occupational health care will be part of the resource that is used for vaccinatios. Heltti is prepared to start members vaccinations as soon as we get vaccines. 

Finnish government has declared that the vaccine as well as vaccination has to be free to the people that are vaccinated. Currently KELA would compensate for 60 % of the expenses of vaccination (not including the actual vaccine that is free) and it would be included in the same compensation limit than all the other expenses in occupational health care. However, it is under consideration that the expenses would be covered 100 % with a separate limit. We truly hope we get an approving decision from KELA shortly.

 

Read more Heltti’s Corona-related blogs

Julius Laine

Julius Laine: Toimin Heltissä yleislääkärinä, ja olen kiinnostunut erityisesti sairauksien ehkäisystä ja hyvinvoinnin edistämisestä. Sairauksien hoito on Suomessa varsin hyvällä tasolla, joten jatkossa tulisi yhä vahvemmin keskittyä hyvinvoinnin lisäämiseen. Hyvinvointi ja terveelliset elämäntavat kulkevat rinnan ja niiden parantaminen on erittäin tehokas keino ehkäistä sairauksia. Terveysteknologia ja sen hyödyt ja haitat lääketieteen ammattilaisille ja erityisesti tavallisille kuluttajille ovat lähellä sydäntäni.