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Helsinki to cut interval between first and second Covid vaccine doses

The capital says it's cutting the wait time between vaccine doses from 12 to eight weeks.

Jätkäsaaren rokotuspisteelle muodostui hetkellisesti jonoa 16. kesäkuuta.
A queue snakes its way around the Jätkäsaari mass vaccination centre in Helsinki. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

The City of Helsinki on Thursday said residents will soon be able to advance their appointments for second shots as many slots are available.

Leena Turpeinen, a city health director, said Helsinki was preparing to shorten vaccine intervals to eight weeks from the current 12.

She said residents will be able to bump up their second Covid vaccine doses as soon as the city finishes tweaks to its online booking system.

"We're talking about hundreds of thousands of people who are up for the second dose, so we must have the digital architecture in place before we can open up this possibility," she explained.

Teen coverage rising

At the moment about 65 percent of Helsinki residents have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

"Vaccination coverage among teens is up. More than half of 16 to 19 year-olds have had their first dose," she said.

As of next week, people in Helsinki who have recovered from coronavirus will also begin receiving text messages encouraging them to book jabs. People who have had Covid are eligible for shots two months after recovering from the illness.

In the coming months Helsinki will also set up pop-up vaccination sites for walk-in appointments.

"Right now we're trialing a vaccination bus visiting different city districts," she added.

Walk-ins welcome on Saturday

On Saturday 17 July, Helsinki residents can walk in to any Covid vaccination centre between 9.15am and 5pm for an initial injection. Second doses will, however, be available by appointment only.

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