News in brief

According to a report by Helsingin Sanomat, nearly 2,000 people in Finland have been infected with the COVID-19 virus after receiving either one or two doses of the vaccine. 

The majority of those infected after being inoculated likely had an underlying disease that compromised their immunity or were exposed to the virus shortly after receiving the vaccine, before the immune response had fully developed. 

The newspaper also highlighted the potential dangers of the new Indian variant of the virus, which is believed to be more contagious than previous strains and has already been linked to multiple infection clusters in the country.


Nearly 2,000 infected with coronavirus after receiving vaccine

Almost 2,000 people in Finland have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after being vaccinated for the same. The majority of these had only received the first dose of the vaccine. 

According to Chief Physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Hanna Nohynek, factors such as a person’s age and underlying conditions increase their risk of contracting the virus after they have been vaccinated. 

Patients with diseases that increase vulnerability to viruses (such as cancer) are at highest risk of being infected. Certain immunodeficiency disorders and drugs can also decrease the immune response. Additionally, the older a person is, the more difficult it is for their body to develop adequate protective immunity. 

Nohynek also points out that the protective effect of mRNA vaccines (such as Pfizer-BioNtech) can be seen about 12 days after the first dose, and for adenovirus vaccines (such as AstraZeneca) about 21 days after. A vaccinated person is more likely to get infected if they are exposed to the virus before this period is over. 

Breakthrough infections—infections that occur in those that have been fully vaccinated—are fairly rare. 


Tuominen: Current measures working against Indian variant

Markku Mäkijärvi, chief medical officer at HUS, believes that the new COVID-19 strain identified in India is cause for concern, but stresses that there is not yet enough information regarding its severity in Finland. 

The Indian variant was behind a recent outbreak in Kanta-Häme, Southern Finland, and has been linked to several cases in Central Ostrobothnia. It has caused infections in 80 people, most of whom had received the first dose of the vaccine, in the municipalities of Hämeenlinna, Forssa and Riihimäki. 

According to Nohynek, research indicates that the efficacy of a single dose of both the Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccines was only 34 per cent against the Indian variant.

CEO of HUS Juha Tuominen stated on Thursday that current practices, such as maintaining hand hygiene, appear to be effective against the new mutation. He does not recommend implementing further measures at present. 


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times