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Monday's papers: Potential vaccine and tighter purse strings

Finland begins thinking about who will be first in line for inoculation against Covid-19.

Kumihanskaa käyttävällä tutkijalla on kädessään Covid-19-tautia vastaan kehitettävä rokote.
Finnish officials say healthcare workers would likely be first in line to receive a vaccine against coronavirus. Image: Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Helsingin Sanomat grabs readers' attention on Monday morning by proclaiming that coronavirus vaccinations may begin in Finland next year. The paper said Finland may acquire one or more potential coronavirus vaccines, explaining that the government has committed to procuring a range of vaccines against Covid-19 that the EU is currently negotiating with vaccine manufacturers.

The European Commission on Friday reached a deal with multinational pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca for the purchase of at least 300 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine following encouraging early stage human trials.

But a vaccine won't be available until scientists can prove it's both safe and effective.

Health ministry director Päivi Sillanaukee told HS that once there is a viable vaccine, front line healthcare workers and risk groups will most likely be prioritised to be first in line for the jab.

Pandemic hits wallets

Around a fifth of Finns said the pandemic had caused them to rein in their spending, finds a survey conducted by Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet, online publication Verkkouutiset and agricultural news outlet Maaseudun tulevaisuus.

The study found that middle-class earners had been dealt the toughest economic blow.

HBL reports that 76,000 workers in Finland are currently on furlough due to the virus while 295,000 people are registered with employment offices as job seekers.

Greens: What happened to employment-based immigration?

In an interview with newsstand tabloid Iltalehti Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) said she didn’t understand why Finance Ministry officials did not highlight the need for work-based immigration in their 2021 budget proposal, noting that the Interior Ministry has repeatedly underscored the importance of attracting workers to Finland.

"Work-based immigration increases economic activity," she told IL. "I’ve met a lot of business leaders in recent years and they’re the ones telling me we need foreign labour. We don’t have enough skilled people for all sectors."

Finance ministry officials play a central role in approving employment measures. Its officials most recently suggested scaling back early retirement as a means of boosting employment.

Last week the Finance Ministry unveiled a 61.6-billion-euro budget for 2021 which government partners will debate and amend in September.

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