This winter's seasonal influenza epidemic started more slowly than usual, but influenza activity has been increasing in recent days, according to the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL.
The peak of the epidemic is not expected until March, and since there is still time to get vaccinated, THL is urging the public, especially people over the age of 65 and those in risk groups to get their shots.
The number of influenza-like cases has exceeded the epidemic threshold, but so far the number of infections is lower than in previous years. THL says that as of Wednesday approximately 6,500 people had contracted influenza A while about 1000 people had contracted the influenza B virus.
Influenza viruses change constantly, so it is necessary to be vaccinated every year. So far this year, public healthcare services have distributed around 1.1 million doses of flu vaccine.
The influenza vaccine is available free of charge for many people, including those aged 65 and above, children aged between 6 months and 6 years, pregnant women, and anyone in a designated risk group.
Those entitled to a free vaccination can obtain it from their own healthcare centre, baby or maternity clinic.
People not entitled to free inoculations can get a prescription from a physician, buy the vaccine at a pharmacy and visit a healthcare centre to have it administered. In addition, some employers offer the vaccine through occupational healthcare services.