Hanna Nohynek, a chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), has stated that vaccinating unvaccinated adults should be the priority over vaccinating under 12-year-olds and expanding the third round of vaccinations. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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THE DEBATE in Finland about vaccinating under 12-year-olds against the new coronavirus and expanding and bringing forward the third round of vaccinations is somewhat misguided, views Hanna Nohynek, a chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

“The most important thing would be to get unvaccinated adults vaccinated,” she stated to Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday. “That’s [priority] number one. All these other things come second.”

“In that sense these other things aren’t terribly urgent in my opinion.”

Nohynek justified her view by reminding that first and second vaccine injections have been shown to have a greater impact on the burden on special health care resources than third injections.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a committee established under the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), has calculated that administering two doses to 50 over 65-year-olds prevents a single hospitalisation whereas the number of third doses required to have the same impact is 481.

Vaccinating unvaccinated people it thus statistically more effective than administering booster injections to vaccinated people. Nohynek also reminded that although the booster injections prevent injections, the main goal of the national vaccination strategy has been to prevent serious forms of the disease.

“If you look at this from the viewpoint of hospital capacity, unvaccinated 50–70-year-old adults currently have the highest risk of getting the serious disease,” she said.

Slightly more than 81 per cent of 12-year-olds and older had been fully vaccinated in Finland by Wednesday. The percentage has crept up extremely slowly in recent weeks.

Third vaccine injections are presently being administered to over 60-year-olds and people at risk of serious forms of the disease due to an underlying medical condition. More than one-fifth of the over 80-year-old population have already received the third vaccine injection.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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