THL: Enough booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine for everyone recommended to have them – popularity of the vaccinations a positive surprise

Publication date 17 Nov 2023

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reports that there will be enough booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone who has been recommended to have them. The vaccines are in a central storage facility and the wellbeing services counties will already receive more of them this week, if necessary. More vaccines will arrive in Finland next week.

A booster vaccine is recommended for persons with the highest risk of developing severe coronavirus disease. Old age is the most significant risk factor for a severe disease. 

“The late autumn booster doses seem to be more popular now than a year ago. This is positive. Now that winter is coming, coronavirus as well as other viruses causing respiratory tract infections are spreading more widely, so it is important that older people and those in the risk groups get the vaccines recommended for them. The new booster dose is aimed at reducing the number of severe cases, the need for hospitalisation and deaths associated with COVID-19,” says Mia Kontio, Chief Specialist at THL.

“The aim of coronavirus vaccinations is to maintain the continuous protection of the population against severe coronavirus disease, as there may be several epidemics during the year,” Kontio specifies.

Vaccinations proceed

Approximately 129,000 more doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines will arrive in Finland next week. Novavax’s protein-based adjuvanted vaccines will also be received in November. It can be given to everyone in the recommended groups, but especially to those to who cannot have the mRNA vaccine, for example, because of an allergy or who do not want to have it for some reason. Both vaccines provide equally good protection against the XBB sublines of the Omicron variant. 

The wellbeing services counties are responsible for the vaccinations and announce where and when the COVID-19 vaccine can be received. As a rule, the late autumn booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are given at the same time with influenza vaccines. 

“The majority of the mass vaccinations have begun. In spite of the long queues and congestion at appointment booking services, the vaccinations are already well under way in many areas and efforts have been made to increase appointments for vaccinations,” says Medical Specialist Anniina Virkku from THL.

THL recommends a booster dose in late autumn for all those aged 65 and over, those in medical high-risk groups aged 18 and over, and those aged 12 and over with severe immunodeficiency.

Further information:

Coronavirus vaccination coverage (in Finnish)

Coronavirus vaccines (in Finnish)

Booster doses in late autumn 2023 (in Finnish)

Mia Kontio
Chief Specialist, THL
[email protected]

Anniina Virkku
Medical Specialist, THL
[email protected]

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