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Thousands of doctors join hands in pro-vaccine campaign

Medical practitioners' responses to a new law are at odds, with some declaiming the obligatory wording and still more emphasising patient safety.

Influenssarokotetta pistetään käsivarteen.
Vaccination is the only effective measure against many otherwise life-threatening diseases. Image: Kalle Niskala / Yle

A new social media outreach campaign is calling for all medical staff to vaccinate themselves against measles, chicken pox and whooping cough in the name of patient safety.

Last year's new legislation on transmittable diseases obligates employees working with at-risk patients to get vaccines for the illnesses mentioned, as well as a flu shot, before conducting their duties.

The vaccination-related article proper only came into effect in early March, and was first met by an opposing online campaign. This prior social media action criticised the obligatory nature of the call for vaccination (not, they say, the vaccines themselves), and emphasised each person's right to choose whether to be vaccinated or not.

The new campaign continues to gain ground by using a hashtag meaning "I protect the patient" (#minäsuojaanpotilasta) and "vaccinated" (#rokotettu). The Facebook page of the campaign currently boasts some 5,000 members.

Chair of the Finnish Medical Association, Marjo Parkkila-Harju went on Twitter to promote the pro-vaccination action on Friday.

"I challenge all medical professionals to support this cause! More than 2,200 doctors joined in overnight," her tweet read.

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