THL recommends fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to those aged 80 and above, and to seniors living in care homes

Publication date 25 Mar 2022

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommends that municipalities should offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to those aged 80 and above and to all seniors living in care homes. The fourth dose may be administered when a minimum of three months has elapsed from the third. 
There are about 300,000 people in Finland who fall within the framework of the recommendation.

The recommendation aims at preventing severe coronavirus disease, deaths, and lost years of life.   

“The deterioration of the epidemic situation has increased the number of cases requiring specialised healthcare, also among those under the age of 80. However, three vaccinations still afford them good protection against severe coronavirus disease also in a difficult epidemic situation. For those who are over 80 years of age, the protective effect from three doses is not as good or as long-lasting as is for those who are younger. Consequently, the purpose of the fourth doses that are now being recommended is to boost and extend protection against a severe case requiring hospitalisation, and especially against fatalities”, says THL Chief Physician Hanna Nohynek.   

THL is actively monitoring the epidemic situation for other age groups and those in medical at-risk groups, as well as the effect of variants of the virus on the efficacy of the vaccines. THL has previously recommended a fourth vaccination for those who are seriously immunocompromised.  
The THL recommendation is in line with a statement issued by the National Advisory Committee on Vaccines (KRAR). 

Development of protective efficacy considered in recommendation 

Previous COVID-19 vaccinations affect the immune response achieved by later booster vaccinations, and for that reason, administering fourth doses has been carefully considered. 

Municipalities organise vaccinations and will specify where and when COVID-19 vaccines can be obtained.

“The primary vaccine being offered for a fourth vaccination is an mRNA vaccine – Biontech-Pfizer Comirnaty, or a half dose of Moderna's Spikevax vaccine. Finland has already acquired enough COVID-19 vaccines to enable all of those for whom the fourth dose is recommended to get a booster”, says THL Chief Specialist Mia Kontio.  

Further information: 

Hanna Nohynek
Chief Physician
[email protected] 

Mia Kontio
Chief Specialist
[email protected] 

Merit Melin
Research Manager
[email protected]  


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