A Venezuelan girl rolled up her sleeve to show her arm after receiving a shot of a coronavirus vaccine in Cucuta, Colombia, on 13 November 2021. (Yuri Cortez – AFP/Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) is recommending that third vaccine doses be offered to all 18-year-olds and older in Finland.

THL on Thursday stated that the third doses should be administered five to six months after the second – also in the case of people who have been identified as beneficiaries of the third injection earlier, such as over 60-year-olds, people vaccinated at shorter intervals and social and health care professionals treating coronavirus patients.

“The third vaccine dose reduces the spread of the virus within the population and improves protection against serious forms of the disease,” highlighted Hanna Nohynek, a chief physician at THL.

THL on Thursday also announced it is recommending that 5–11-year-olds with medical conditions predisposing them to serious forms of the disease be vaccinated as soon as vaccines developed for children arrive in the country. The first batch is presently expected to arrive during the week starting on 13 December, according to YLE.

“Children’s vaccinations must be carried out in a way that they do not delay the vaccinations of the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly,” said Nohynek.

THL underlined that it is necessary to accumulate more information about the safety of vaccines on children before vaccinating the entire age group. The information will be analysed during the course of this month, with a view to launching the vaccinations after the turn of the year provided that there is sufficient evidence of safety.

“The primary reason for not recommending vaccinations for all 5–11-year-olds is their low disease burden,” she said.

The age group, she elaborated, typically develops only mild symptoms from an infection, meaning the tolerance for adverse side-effects from vaccinations is extremely low.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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