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Covid vaccine rolls out in Tampere, Turku, Kuopio and Oulu

A vaccinologist told Yle that if all goes to plan, Finland could reach herd immunity during the summer.

On Monday specialist physician Mervi Mendiluce was the first health care worker in the Pirkanmaa region to receive the first of two coronavirus vaccine doses in Tampere. Image: Kalle Parkkinen / Lehtikuva

Finland's rollout of the coronavirus vaccine continued on Monday in the cities of Turku, Tampere, Kuopio and Oulu, where healthcare providers were first in line to be vaccinated.

Healthcare workers from the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) began receiving the vaccine on Sunday. Staff members who first received jabs care for Covid-19 patients in regular and ICU hospital wards, as well as those who may encounter people with coronavirus infections at urgent care units.

On Monday, front-line staff at Turku University Hospital (Tyks) will be the next in line, according to Mikko Pietilä, deputy medical director at the Hospital District of Southwest Finland.

According to Oulu University Hospital, there are adequate doses to vaccinate approximately 1,000 workers at the hospital's Covid care units.

Intensive care unit staff at the Tampere University Hospital will be the first to be vaccinated in the Pirkanmaa region, according to a press release issued by the hospital.

Meanwhile, at Kuopio University Hospital, the vaccine is first being offered to health care workers who are in direct contact with Covid patients, a group that also includes ICU staff.

Rollout to continue

The vaccine currently being administered in Finland are from Pfizer BioNTech.

As the vaccination involves two separate injections, Finland's initial supply of 9,750 doses--which arrived in Finland on Boxing Day--will enable 4,875 individuals to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus infections.

The second dose of the vaccine is given three weeks after the first injection.

The majority of the initial supply of vaccines will be doled out among personnel at HUS, as the vaccinations are being rolled out to hospital districts according to their size.

Finland's next shipment of vaccines is expected to arrive over the next few days. Once health care workers around the country have been vaccinated, vaccinations will then roll out to coronavirus risk groups.

According to Hanna Nohynek, a vaccinologist with the Institute for Health and Welfare THL, if all goes according to plan, other non-health care workers as well as those not belonging to risk groups would begin to receive the vaccine in March, a situation which would pave the way for Finland's coronavirus immunity in the summer, she told Yle on Sunday.