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Pharmacy flu vaccine stocks low

Up to half a million Finns may come down with cases of seasonal flu over the next few months. At present, stocks of vaccine are low at the nation's pharmacies, but officials say there is enough to protect population groups that are high risk.

Kausi-influenssarokotetta pistetään käsivarteen
The best protection against coming down with the flu is a vaccination taken well in advance, usually before mid-December. Image: Nina Keski-Korpela / Yle

Type A and B flu virus epidemics usually begin around the start of each year. The best protection against coming down with the flu is a vaccination taken well in advance. However, right now, stocks of seasonal flu vaccines are low nationwide.

The Hämeenlinna region, where Occupational Health Nurse Suvi Sergejeff works, is one area where pharmacies have little of the vaccine on hand.

"Vaccines at the moment are in short supply at pharmacies. There are supplies earmarked for people in high risk groups at healthcare centres and these groups will get their shot," says Sergejeff.

She adds that private healthcare centres inoculate some of their own staff and so may also have supplies on hand that could be made available to individuals in risk groups.

Seasonal flu is right now widespread in parts Europe, but still at low levels in the US.

"So far, there have been only scattered cases registered in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France. It will take off at the beginning of the year and last from January for another two to three months," Sergejeff notes.

Suvi Sergejeff suggests that anyone considering getting a vaccination should contact his or her local healthcare centre which can provide more detailed information.

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