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Finnish Covid vaccine programme to prioritise risk groups, the elderly and their carers

The cabinet will make the final decision on a Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme.

Vapaaehtoiselle testihenkilölle annettiin Modernan rokote Detroitissa 5. elokuuta.
More than one promising vaccine candidates have emerged in recent weeks. Image: AFP

Finland’s national vaccine expert group is recommending that a coronavirus vaccine should first be administered to healthcare workers tending to Covid-19 patients as well as personnel working in elder care homes and people with severe underlying conditions that put them at special risk if they contract the disease.

The expert group issued its proposals for a vaccine programme rollout on Wednesday afternoon, according to a statement from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, THL.

The vaccine will be delivered to Finland in several different batches and as a result, health officials will also have to determine which of the priority groups it identified should receive the shot first.

That decision will be made once public health officials have more information about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine for different groups.

Nationwide rollout later

The expert group said that the jab could be provided nationwide once officials have secured sufficient doses. It added that the timetable for national distribution will be determined later on.

"The sequence of vaccinations will be evaluated in greater detail when we have more information about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine in different age groups," THL vaccinologist and senior physician Hanna Nohynek said.

The expert group will conduct a medical risk assessment of the vaccine, using data from confirmed coronavirus cases in Finland as well as international research data about risk groups for the disease.

Information about the risk of illness will be combined with data about how the vaccine could reduce the number of serious infections among each group as well as information about loss of living years and premature deaths.

The expert group will continue its work evaluating a sequence of vaccinations as well as target groups in the weeks to come. The THL will then draw up a proposal on a vaccine programme for consideration by the Social Affairs and Health Ministry.

The cabinet will then make a decision on the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine programme.

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