The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported last autumn that only six under 16-year-olds had required intensive care for Covid-19 in Finland by October 2021. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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A CHILD has died of the coronavirus disease presumably for the first time in Finland. Ilkka-Pohjalainen on Wednesday reported that a school-aged child died of the disease last weekend in Laihia, a roughly 8,000-resident municipality in Ostrobothnia.

The death was confirmed to Helsingin Sanomat by Markku Laukkonen, the acting director of education services in Laihia.

“A school-aged child who had been in hospital care for a coronavirus infection unfortunately died last over the weekend. I received the sad news on Sunday,” he commented, adding that the child was part of a risk group.

Helsingin Sanomat reminded that severe forms of the disease remain very rare in children and young people. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) noted in a working paper last autumn that only six under 16-year-olds had required intensive care for Covid-19 by October 2021. No deaths had been reported in the age group at the time.

Its statistics also reveal that only seven under 30-year-olds have died of the disease in the country.

Terhi Tapiainen, a chief physician specialising in paediatric infectious diseases at Oulu University Hospital, stated to Helsingin Sanomat that it is likely that also some children die of Covid-19 in Finland. Estimates from the United States, she pointed out, suggest that the burden of the disease is equivalent to that of the seasonal flu for under 12-year-olds.

Some children die of the seasonal flu every few years.

“Previously healthy children can also die of it in very rare cases,” said Tapiainen. “I’d say it’s possible that also children will die of the coronavirus disease, but it’ll be very rare.”

“The isolated case will probably make real the fact that also the coronavirus case can be associated with severe diseases in some cases. It may encourage families to seek out vaccinations actively,” she analysed.

Finland began vaccinating 5–11-year-olds in December.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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