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Wednesday's papers: Vaasa's flu shot shortage, hungry conscripts, and Tampere revamp nearly done

Conscripts' parents had complained to the Defence Minister about their rations.

Tampereen ratikka.
Tampere's tram system is nearly ready for passengers. Image: Miikka Varila / Yle

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people in Finland have been keener than usual to get their flu jabs.

With good reason: health authorities warn that getting the flu and coronavirus at the same time is not a good combination.

Unfortunately, that means flu vaccine shortages are now starting to hit. Private clinics had already run out of flu shots at the start of November, but now the shortage is starting to bite on the public side too.

Helsingin Sanomat reports on Wednesday that in Vaasa, public sector flu vaccinations will stop from Monday onwards.

The city said that most people in high-risk groups had been inoculated already, but 100-200 will have to go without.

Hanna Nohynek from THL tells HS that each year Finland orders around 1.8 million doses of flu vaccine, and every year around 200,000 go unused.

Minister moves on military meals

Finland's conscripts have joined the army as normal throughout the pandemic, with the military taking some measures to try to ensure their garrisons remain Covid-safe.

One of those measures relates to their rations, with dehydrated food packs forming a bigger part of their nutrition and meals in the mess reduced from non-pandemic times.

What's more, some conscripts have complained that portions were too small or even that food ran out in the middle of service.

Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) tells Ilta-Sanomat that he has now ordered officials in the Defence Forces to ensure soldiers don't go hungry.

"According to feedback received there have simply been situations where the food has not been sufficient for everyone," said Kaikonen. "There have also been situations where it was felt that portion sizes were not big enough."

Kaikkonen also said he wanted the military to serve more domestically-sourced food. Currently Finnish producers account for 75 percent of the food consumed on military tables, but the Centre Party minister wants the country's farmers to provide a bigger chunk of it.

Trampere 2021

Finland's second city, Tampere, has started testing its new tram system. Trams ran through the city centre at normal speed this week, as the operators ramp up testing ahead of the system's grand opening in 2021.

One of the goals is to allow the city's motorists and pedestrians to get used to the trams before operations start in earnest.

In honour of the occasion, local paper Aamulehti has a gallery of pictures of the city's main street Hämeenkatu in all its be-trammed glory.

The street has been extensively excavated and renovated as part of the tram works, with some seven million kilogrammes of rock used in the project, according to Aamulehti.

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