A health care professional prepared to administer a dose of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine to an elderly person at Tapiola Health Centre in Espoo, Finland, on 28 January 2021. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


MEMBERS of the Finnish Parliament are not supportive of the notion of obligating Finns to get vaccinated against Covid-19, reports YLE.

The public broadcasting company wrote yesterday that 129 of the 141 lawmakers who responded to its survey viewed that taking the vaccine should be voluntary. All 200 Members of the Parliament were asked whether taking the vaccine should be mandatory for everyone who is not at risk of having an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Mandatory vaccinations would represent a complete reversal of the current position in Finland.

The lawmakers who expressed their opposition to the idea pointed out that the fairly comprehensive national vaccination coverage has been accomplished through education rather than obligation. There is no justification for deviating from the approach in the case of the new coronavirus, they viewed.

Eva Biaudet (SFP) said the Finnish health care system has a long tradition of voluntary vaccinations and successful vaccination programmes based on communication and information.

“An obligation can provoke more of a counter-reaction and go against our vaccination goals. The challenge right now has been specifically that people are truly waiting for their turn to get vaccinated. The focus must be shifted to improving availability,” she underlined to the public broadcasting company.

Kaisa Juuso (PS) estimated that obligatory vaccinations could infringe on both international human rights and section seven of the Finnish constitution, which stipulates that the personal integrity of people must not be violated and that no one must be deprived of their liberty arbitrarily or without a reason set forth in the legislation.

“That’s to say I’m definitely in favour of voluntary vaccinations,” she said.

A number of lawmakers also expressed their confidence that the public will act rationally and take the vaccine to protect both themselves and others from the virus.

“It’s unpatriotic not to take the coronavirus vaccine without a health-related reason. I have confidence in Finns’ common sense on this issue,” commented Petri Honkonen (NCP).

Some also identified vaccination certificates as a way to encourage the public to get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. “As the availability of vaccines improves, many countries may adopt vaccination certificates as a condition for entry. That’d encourage many to take the vaccine,” viewed Jouni Kotiaho (PS).

“No one can be forced to take the vaccine,” said Sandra Bergqvist (SFP). “A vaccination passport could be one way to re-open the society. Cinemas, restaurants and travel agencies, for example, could demand a vaccination passport from their customers.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday wrote that 2.6 per cent of the population has received at least the first jab of a coronavirus vaccine. The share of vaccinated residents has crept up close to five per cent in Åland Islands (4.5%) and Southern Savonia (4.8%) and over five per cent in Lapland (5.4%).

Aleksi Teivainen – HT