Statistics indicate that the COVID- 19 vaccination rate in Finland has declined significantly over summer. While the pace picked up quickly when inoculations began earlier this year, the overall number of shots given in the country has now dropped below the EU/EEA (European Economic Area) average.
Ilta-Sanomat reports that Finland’s vaccination rate has fallen by 16 per cent since the beginning of summer, even decreasing by over 50 per cent in certain regions. On an average, around 50,000 fewer vaccines were given per week at the end of July compared to the first week of June.
The hospital district of Central Ostrobothnia experienced the biggest slowdown, with 61 per cent less shots received at the end of July compared to early summer.
According to Iltalehti, 72.2 per cent of the adult population (aged 18 and above) in EU countries has received at least one dose of the vaccine. The equivalent figure in Finland is 81.3 per cent. However, while 60.3 per cent of the adult population in the EU has received both shots, this number is only 45.5 per cent in Finland.
Jukka Aro, who oversees vaccinations in the Central Ostrobothnia hospital district (Soite), told Ilta-Sanomat that there are various reasons for the drop in inoculation rates, including the holiday season and pandemic fatigue, which he believes reduces the fear of falling sick.
Additionally, coverage of the younger population remains low due to vaccine hesitancy. Chief Physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Hanna Nohynek has attributed the slow pace to the health authorities’ strategy to extend the vaccine interval to 12 weeks so more people could get the first dose.
Finland is not the only country that has witnessed a summer vaccine slump, however. In the neighboring country of Sweden, 78.9 per cent of the adult population has received the first dose, while only 53.5 per cent has been given the booster shot. Iceland leads the EU/EEA in terms of vaccination pace, with 86.5 per cent of the adult population already fully vaccinated.