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Friday's papers: Vaccine tourism, cancelled holidays and vaginal "repair"

Finnish news outlets explore Finns flying to Russia for jabs and unscientific medical procedures.

Kuvattu Moskovassa, kaupungin poliklinikalla 9. joulukuuta 2020.
Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Image: Grigori Vorobjov / Yle

Finland has the EU's second-highest cumulative uptake of at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, but Covid-19 vaccine tourism is still drawing some people to Russia.

Many Finns have travelled across the Russian border to get the Sputnik V vaccine, writes Ilta-Sanomat.

Thirty-five year old Sanna Aaltonen said the Russian Embassy swiftly granted her permission to travel to Moscow for the jab.

Aaltonen, who has received both doses of the Sputnik vaccine, said the Russian clinic encouraged her to capture the vaccination process on video.

She said that while the vaccine was free, other fees for both shots totalled 108 euros.

Health authorities in Finland are aware of Finns making vaccine trips to Russia.

"We know people are going across the border to get vaccinated," Mia Kontio of THL told IS.

Tour operator cancels June

The coronavirus situation has led tour operator Aurinkomatkat to cancel all of its package trips in June, according to Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

The company said it would, by early June, re-evaluate whether it could offer package trips in July.

Aurinkomatkat said it appeared it could go ahead with city holiday tours as of 1 July to destinations that don’t restrict inbound travel and are serviced by Finnair.

Virgin territory

At least three private clinics in Finland offer hymenoplasty, or vaginal reconstruction surgery, a procedure with no medical basis costing between 2,500 to 3,700 euros, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The phenomenon is drawing the attention of researchers and organisations, including the Finnish Medical Association (FMA) and the Finnish League for Human Rights.

Sweden's medical association recently condemned the practice, saying the procedure reinforces unacceptable norms related to women’s "honour" and sexuality. That is, the myth the hymen should be present in any woman who hasn't had sexual intercourse.

Young women make up the majority of those seeking to "restore" their virginity and may fear honour-based violence in their communities, according to the paper.

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