A medical professional injected a dose of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine in Espoo on 23 April 2021. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)


THE BOOKING SYSTEM for coronavirus vaccination appointments will be opened for 16–19-year-olds in Helsinki on Wednesday.

“It is extremely important that we can start vaccinating also younger age groups. This is important for preventing the spread of the epidemic and the virus mutations possibly crossing the border into the country,” Timo Carpén, a medical director at the City of Helsinki, said on Monday.

The booking system was opened for 20–24-year-olds on Monday.

Leena Turpeinen, the head of health and substance abuse service at the City of Helsinki, told Helsingin Sanomat on Monday that also younger people with conditions exposing them to serious forms of the coronavirus disease should start receiving the vaccine injections in the next two weeks.

“We’ll need to first check and make adjustments to the booking system in use to allow guardians to use it on behalf of minors,” she said.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Thursday announced it is recommending that the vaccines be administered also to 12–15-year-old people at heightened risk of complicated infections. Turpeinen on Monday stated that Helsinki should be able to start vaccinating 12–15-year-olds who are not part of any risk group within a couple of weeks after the possible recommendation from THL.

“We’ve been promised a decent amount of vaccines for June, and we’ve been able to move forward quite well. But if the volumes decrease, we’d have to take another look at the situation.”

Children and young people, she told, will be vaccinated with the vaccine developed by Pfizer and Biontech. The vaccinations of 12–15-year-olds, regardless of their health status, will not start until after Midsummer, according to Turpeinen.

Officials in Helsinki are also considering how the booking of vaccinations should be implemented in practice for underage people and who makes the final decision on whether or not a child gets vaccinated.

“As a starting point, if a child is capable of making the decision and commenting on the matter, he or she will be able to do so. If not, it’ll be the parents who decide,” outlined Turpeinen.

Almost 3,080,000 Finns, or 55.2 per cent of the population, had received the first vaccine injection and almost 850,000, or 15.3 per cent of the population, also the second injection on Monday, according to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT