A new batch of vaccines designed to offer protection against the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will be delivered to Finland later this week.
The vaccines will be offered to those aged 65 and older as well as those belonging to risk groups. Vaccinations are set to be administered between October and December.
"We are hoping that the October-December boosters will be administered with this variant vaccine so that those belonging to risk groups can get as good and broad protection as possible," Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) expert Mia Kontio told Yle.
The new booster will also be administered to those aged 60–64 who have not yet had the recommended four doses. In addition, the vaccine can also be given to those aged between 18–59 who have not yet received the immunity provided by the three recommended doses for the age group.
According to THL, regardless of the virus strain, all available Covid vaccines protect equally well against serious infection.
"The original vaccines are also just as good for protecting against serious disease, it's just that these new vaccines contain a slightly different spike protein. In this way, we hope that the spectrum of vaccine protection would be a little wider," Kontio said.
The omicron booster will not be provided to healthy citizens that are fully vaccinated. THL justified its decision by saying that the majority of the Finnish population is already well-protected against serious infection.
"I believe that the majority of the population has three doses worth of protection either after getting sick or after receiving a couple of doses. A study on antibody rates in children revealed that around 90 percent of kids have developed antibodies from either natural infection or vaccination. This probably also applies to adults," Kontio said.
In case new variants emerge and the current coronavirus situation worsens, THL added that it is prepared to change its recommendations accordingly.