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Monday's papers: Vaccinating teens, Tampere tram and the return to work

Finland's press reports on vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds, a historic day for Tampere's tram and back to work anxieties.

The Tampere tram made its first official journey in the early hours of Monday morning. Image: Juha Kokkala / Yle
Yle News

Finland's highest circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) is among the many papers to report this morning that from Monday all 12- to 15-year-olds in Finland can receive a coronavirus vaccine. Previously only those within the age group considered to be in an at-risk group could get the jab.

Vaccine specialist Mika Rämet of the Vaccine Research Centre at the University of Tampere, tells HS that it remains to be seen how many 12- to 15-year-olds will take up the opportunity to get vaccinated, but he points to a survey conducted by Statistics Finland which suggested that up to three-quarters of respondents said they wanted their children to be inoculated against the virus.

"Personally, I think that vaccination among this age group will help to enable a return to normal life and provide protection against the virus. If the vaccine coverage is not high enough though, contact teaching and group hobbies may become difficult, as well as travelling abroad," Rämet tells HS.

There are an estimated 250,000 12- to 15-year-olds in Finland, and HS writes that municipalities across the country have been making preparations to get as many of them vaccinated as quickly as possible, with plans for 'pop-up' vaccination points that do not require an appointment as well as the possibility that the jab will be provided at schools.

Rämet says taking the vaccine is important for this age group because it will not only protect the young person themselves, but also their families and close circles.

"Inevitably we will have coronavirus cases in the autumn, but what can be done here is for everyone to take care of their own protection against the virus in order to avoid, as much as possible, an increase in the need for hospital care, intensive care and deaths," he added.

Tampere tram officially hits the track

Tampere-based Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) was up very early this Monday morning to catch the first official journey by the city's new tram, which left from Hervanta at the somewhat ungodly hour of 4.26am.

The paper provided a live stream of the event, which showed that many bleary-eyed commuters were willing to brave the early hours and the morning rain to jump on board for the historic 'maiden voyage', using words such as "awesome" and "exciting" to describe the experience to AL's intrepid early morning reporter.

The distinctive red trams have been snaking their way around the city's streets since late last year, but only on trial runs in advance of this morning's official start following a launch ceremony on Sunday, which the paper also covered extensively (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Outgoing city mayor Lauri Lyly (SDP) told AL that the tram would not just form a significant part of the city's transport network, but was also key to the future prospects and prosperity of the city itself.

"We have a historic day on our hands today as we celebrate the opening of the first part of the tramway. The decision made in 2016 has become reality, and we can be proud of that," Lyly said. "The tram is not just the investment of the decade but the investment of the century."

Don't panic, it's not November yet

With many people in Finland returning to work this Monday morning, or already back into their normal routines, tabloid Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) offers some advice on how to cope with the "anxiety" this may bring.

After all, this was the second successive Covid summer, IL writes, which brings its own stresses and strains.

"Summer has also been terribly hot, and hot apartments may mean that people have not slept very well," Occupational Psychologist Annukka Merikallio tells the tabloid.

Merikallio says it is important that people feeling anxious about the coming autumn and winter months try to stay focused on the here and now.

"It is not worth panicking now about how to cope in November. Right now everything is fine, and there is still nice weather outside. Think about things you can do to feel good every day," she says.

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