Tuesday's Papers: Government discussions, slow vaccination rate and breast cancer breakthrough

The government will meet on Tuesday to discuss new measures to tackle the worsening Covid-19 situation

Only 5 percent of Finland's population has received the third vaccine dose Image: Jorge Gonzalez / Yle

Concerns about the new virus variant Omicron and Finland's deteriorating Covid-19 situation dominated domestic headlines once again on Tuesday, with several papers reporting that the government will meet to debate potential solutions on Tuesday.

The topics of discussion will include an assessment of the current epidemiological situation in the country, vaccination progress and controlling border traffic in light of the new variant, according to daily Karjalainen (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Government sources have revealed that while no decisions have been made yet, officials are considering shutting down Finland's borders or reinforcing internal border controls within the Schengen area.

The government could also make vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers.

Currently, tourists arriving from southern African countries which have reported multiple cases of the Omicron variant are banned from entering Finland.

The Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is investigating two suspected cases of Omicron in the country.

Finland lags behind in vaccination

According to a report (siirryt toiseen palveluun) by Helsingin Sanomat, Finland has been distributing the third jab of the Covid-19 vaccine much slower than other countries in the EU.

Around 37 percent of those aged 12 and above have received the third dose in Iceland, while the equivalent figure in Hungary is 25 percent and Malta 21 percent.

The number stands at about 10 percent in Spain and Lithuania and 9 percent in France. In contrast, as of Monday, only 5 percent had received the third jab in Finland.

Finland's current vaccination strategy focuses on ensuring that most of the population has received the second dose and preparing to vaccinate children under 12 years of age.

Medical experts have recommended that Finland step up its vaccination pace to prevent waning immunity against the virus.

The third jab is currently only available to people over 60 and those belonging to medical risk groups.

Finnish scientists make breakthrough in breast cancer research

Ilta-Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that researchers from the University of Helsinki and Aalto University have successfully developed a gel-grown "mini-breast cancer" that will help improve breast cancer treatment.

The new method makes it easier to study hormone receptors to determine the effectiveness of hormone therapies.

The discovery has significant implications as 70 percent of breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive, that is, they involve cells that contain hormone receptors or molecules that bind to a specific hormone.

Studying hormone receptors in laboratory conditions will make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to develop more effective drugs.

Breast cancer is currently the most common type of cancer among the working age population in Finland, affecting 5,000 women every year.