Top doc calls for Covid vaccine mandate as case numbers escalate

Finland reported 1,151 new Covid infections on Wednesday, meaning there have been about 11,000 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases over the past two weeks.

Heikki Kaukoranta, chief physician with the City of Vaasa. Image: Yle/Anne Teir-Siltanen

The City of Vaasa's Chief Physician Heikki Kaukoranta has called on authorities to introduce mandatory vaccination for every resident in Finland aged 12 years and above.

Kaukoranta told Yle he is concerned about the rapidly increasing number of infections across the country, saying a compulsory vaccination order would be the solution.

He added that the current measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus are proving to be insufficient.

"It can be seen that the need for hospital care is increasing and the currently available measures will not curb the spread," Kaukoranta said, adding that Finland's legislation would allow for the government to make such a compulsory order.

"Section 47 of the Communicable Diseases Act allows for the imposition of vaccination in a situation where an infectious disease threatens the functioning of society," he said.

This would in turn pass the responsibility for being vaccinated from the individual to the state.

"It is up to the individual citizen to consider, for example, whether vaccination is safe or whether vaccination is potentially harmful. In that case [of a mandatory order], the state bears the responsibility and is also responsible for any future adverse effects," Kaukoranta said.

About 20 percent of Finland's population aged 12 and above are currently not fully vaccinated, a figure Kaukoranta believes is too high. The mandatory vaccination order should therefore come into force as soon as possible, he said.

"The sooner the better. Especially now that we are seeing that the Covid situation in Europe is deteriorating. Vaccines are available in the [Finnish] state and vaccinations can be arranged," he said.

Case numbers rising

Finland reported 1,151 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic to 172,373.

Public health authority THL has now registered around 11,000 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, which is approximately 3,100 more infections than during the previous 14-day period.

Hospitalisations are also on the rise, with 299 Covid patients in hospitals across the country, 38 of whom in intensive care, as of Wednesday. The latest figures reflect increases of six more people in hospital and two in ICU since Monday.