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Scientists, doctors call for rapid vaccination schedule

The working group said Finland must act quickly to curb the spread of coronavirus variants.

Sote-henkilöstölle annettiin Pfizerin koronavirusrokotteita Helsingissä 4. tammikuuta 2021. Sairaanhoitaja Paula valmisteli rokotteita takahuoneessa, eli sekoitti rokotetta ja keittosuolaliuosta valmiiksi ruiskuihin.
The threat of new coronavirus variants spreading rapidly in Finland could escalate into a crisis within weeks, according to the group. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

A working group comprising of Finnish doctors, scientists and experts from various fields has called for Finland to take rapid and more decisive action to combat the spread of coronavirus variants.

According to the Eroon koronasta ('Get rid of coronavirus') working group, the epidemic situation has changed alarmingly in recent weeks as newer, more contagious variants of the virus have been detected. This has created a further serious threat just as the beginning of the vaccine rollout had offered hope of overcoming the epidemic, the group said.

In order to curb the spread of mutations, the working group said Finland must speed up its vaccination rollout schedule, which has been hampered by delays in the opening weeks.

If a variant of the virus that was identified in the UK begins to spread in Finland, the group warned, tackling it may require a very strict lockdown of society as the situation could potentially escalate into a crisis within weeks.

"In order to avoid a crisis, the most effective measures possible must be taken without delay to combat the immediate threat, in accordance with the precautionary principle. If it later turns out that the variants do not spread as fast as has now been estimated, action can always be taken at a later stage when research data is available," the group’s press release reads.

"However, the current knowledge about the threat posed by the variants is very extensive, and time can no longer be wasted waiting for more accurate results," the statement added, which was signed by a total of 34 experts and scientists from various fields.

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