Free influenza vaccinations to begin in November – coronavirus booster also available 

Publication date 7 Nov 2023

Baby and Grandpa.

Many wellbeing services counties  will begin offering influenza vaccinations for at-risk groups at the start of November. Influenza can be a serious illness which may cause severe secondary diseases, including pneumonia, for those in at-risk groups. Influenza vaccine helps prevent the spread of the virus, protecting both your own health and that of others.  

Influenza vaccination is available free of charge for those for whom influenza poses a significant threat, or whose health could significantly benefit from the vaccination. 

 Free influenza vaccination is available to all who are susceptible to severe forms of influenza, i.e.:   

  • those over the age of 65  
  • children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years 
  • those who are pregnant 
  • those who are in an at-risk group because of a disease or treatment. 

 In addition, influenza vaccinations are also given free of charge to   

  • men starting their military service and women starting their voluntary military service 
  • persons who live or are spending extensive periods in institutional conditions 
  • employees of social and healthcare services and employees working in pharmaceutical services 
  • persons who are repeatedly in close contact with a person who is especially susceptible to severe forms of influenza, or with those who are susceptible to severe forms of influenza who cannot be protected by the vaccination. 

This season, influenza vaccination is also free to those at risk of catching avian influenza. These persons include persons working on fur farms or with poultry, official veterinarians, laboratory workers who collect or process avian influenza samples, and other persons who are at a great risk of contracting avian influenza through their work or other conditions. 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) also recommends influenza vaccines for those who are repeatedly in close contact with persons susceptible to severe forms of influenza, but who are not included among those who are entitled to free vaccinations. They must pay for the vaccine themselves.

Both injected and nasal spray versions in use 

The vaccination programme for the 2023–2024 influenza season uses the injected Vaxigrip Tetra vaccine for all age groups. For children aged 2–6 the FluenzTetra nasal spray vaccine is available. The same preparations were also used in the previous season, but one of the four viral strains that they contain has been changed since last year, in accordance with recommendations from the World Health Organisation.  

“The WHO agrees on  the composition of the viral strains in the influenza vaccines at six-month intervals to ensure maximum protection against the viral strains predicted circulating during  the coming season”, says THL Chief Physician Hanna Nohynek

Coronavirus vaccine can also be taken together  with the influenza vaccine 

This autumn, a coronavirus booster is recommended for all those aged 65 and over, those over the age of 18 who are in an at-risk group, and all those over the age of 12 who are seriously immunocompromised. Boosters are recommended regardless of how many coronavirus vaccinations a person has received, or how many times a person has been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.  

However, at least three months must elapse from the most recent coronavirus vaccination or coronavirus infection of any variant for the new vaccination to have the desired effect. Preparations tailored for new variants are used in the booster vaccines.  

Get information on vaccination arrangements from your wellbeing services county 

Wellbeing services counties provide information about arrangements for influenza and coronavirus vaccinations in their own areas, and when and where the vaccines are administered.  

Those who are not entitled to a free influenza vaccination may buy the vaccine at a pharmacy with a doctor's prescription and have it injected at a health centre, for example. The vaccines are also available at private medical clinics. Some employers offer their employees influenza vaccinations through occupational healthcare.  

Coronavirus vaccines are not available via occupational healthcare or by prescription in pharmacies, for the time being.   

The influenza epidemic has not yet started, but coronavirus infections have increased  

The influenza epidemic has not yet begun in Finland. In October, THL’s infectious diseases register has received reports of individual influenza findings weekly, but the number of cases does not currently show a significant increase. However, the number of coronavirus infections has grown in many wellbeing services counties.

THL is monitoring the development of both the influenza and coronavirus situations and regularly updates the information on its website. 

More information 

What is influenza? (THL, in Finnish)
Influenza vaccine (THL) 

Influenza vaccines for people close to susceptible persons (THL, in Finnish)  
Vaccines and coronavirus (THL) 
Coronavirus booster vaccinations in early winter (THL, in Finnish) 

Coverage of influenza vaccinations (THL, in Finnish) 
Up-to-date influenza survey (THL, in Finnish) 
Coronavirus wastewater monitoring weekly report (THL)
Hanna Nohynek
Chief Physician (vaccinations and vaccines)
tel. +358 29 524 8246
[email protected] 

Mia Kontio 
Senior Specialist (vaccinations and vaccines) 
tel. +358 29 524 8365
[email protected]  

Niina Ikonen
Senior Specialist (influenza and coronavirus monitoring)
tel. +358 29 524 8413
[email protected] 

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