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Cabinet proposes changes in order of vaccinations

After risk groups and over-70s get their first jabs, THL may distribute some vaccinations in a targeted regional manner.

Annika Saarikko
Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko is also chair of the Centre Party (file photo). Image: Lehtikuva

Officials may begin regional targeting of coronavirus vaccines. The government is to immediately submit a proposal on the matter for a round of comment, ministers said on Wednesday evening.

The comment process will last until 13 April, so there will be no imminent change in the sequence of vaccinations.

The government wants to partly adjust the emphasis on vaccinations according to the infection situation in various parts of the country.

This would mean that once risk groups and those over 70 years of age have received the first dose of vaccine, THL could distribute some vaccine batches in a targeted manner.

The institute would be able to consider the number of infections and people in intensive care when deciding on the distribution of vaccines, in addition to the population of each area.

Under the plan, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) would be able to distribute portions of individual vaccine batches based on the population of the hospital district, the number of infections in the previous two weeks, and the number of those in intensive care in the previous 14 days.

The Uusimaa region, which includes Helsinki, and the southwest, including Turku, have had by far the highest infection rates over the past year.

Regional targeting possible from mid-April to late May

The proposal was drawn up by the THL and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The government will send it for comment as it stands.

Cabinet ministers will then decide on possible amendments to the bill after it is circulated for comment to various agencies and committees.

According to the proposal, the order of vaccination would be changed permanently in regard to age groups, but the regional targeting of vaccines would only be possible through the end of May.

Following vaccination of risk groups, social and healthcare staff and the elderly, other individuals would be vaccinated across the country by age group, starting with the oldest.

After those over 70 years of age, vaccinations would be given to people in their 60s, then those in their 50s, 40s, 30s, and finally those aged 16-29.

Saarikko: Working-age population to be vaccinated by age group

The bill would also expand the ranks of those allowed to administer shots. At present, vaccinations may only be given by doctors, nurses and midwives who has received appropriate vaccination training. In the future, dentists and healthcare students would also be able to administer jabs.

Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko, who is also chair of the Centre Party, commented on the government's change in the vaccine order on Twitter on Wednesday evening:

"The basis for this has been prepared by the ministry and the THL. Feedback and impact assessments on regional weighting will be heard. The main point in the draft regulation is that the working-age population throughout Finland will be vaccinated by age group," she wrote.

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