A young woman received a jab of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine in Helsinki on 30 June 2021. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE CITY OF HELSINKI has come up with a number of measures to make it easier for locals to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Leena Turpeinen, the director of health and substance abuse services at the City of Helsinki, on Thursday told YLE that the city is preparing to reduce the interval between the first and second injections. The Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, for example, could be administered with an interval of eight weeks going forward.

Local residents will be able to move forward their booster injections themselves in the near future, as soon as the necessary adjustments to the booking have been implemented.

“We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people when talking about second injection recipients, which is why we have to have the digital side in order before we can open the possibility,” said Turpeinen.

Helsinki currently has vaccination appointments available for any day of the week.

“We’ve gotten a lot of vaccines in recent times to Helsinki. There are more vaccination appointments available than are being booked. This is why we’re trying to use all possible means to encourage locals and long-term residents to get vaccinated,” she commented.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the residents have already received the first vaccine injection. “The vaccination coverage has started creeping up also among young people: over a half of 16–19-year-olds have received the first vaccine,” revealed Turpeinen.

Helsinki is also set to take other action to boost the vaccination coverage. Locals who have recovered from the coronavirus disease will as of next week be sent text messages offering a vaccination if the recovery took place at least two months earlier. The city will also set up pop-up vaccination sites, with a plan to shed light on the further details at a later date.

“We’re currently trialling a vaccination bus in different districts. Today the bus has been in Malmi and tomorrow in Itäkeskus.”

Locals can also take the first vaccine dose without a booking at any of the city’s vaccination centres between 9.15am and 5pm on Saturday, 17 July. The second vaccine doses, though, will only be administered to people who have booked an appointment for the booster injection.

Turpeinen on Thursday encouraged everyone who has yet been vaccinated to do so.

“You can now drop in at a vaccination site while on a walk or drive on Saturday. We’re trialling this next Saturday. We may be offering this kind of opportunity also later depending on the results,” she said to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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