Lutheran Bishop of Helsinki Teemu Laajasalo has been criticised for his pro-vaccine stance/Lehtikuva

News in brief

According to multiple news sources, unvaccinated patients account for 77 percent of those hospitalised for COVID-19 in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS).

The Finnish News Agency (STT) reports that the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is recommending that anyone aged 60 or above receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Local newspapers also revealed that over 200 congregants have cut ties with Finland’s Lutheran church after bishop Teemu Laajasalo published an article encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Unvaccinated account for increasing COVID-19 hospitalisations in HUS district

HUS has disclosed that 77 percent of the patients admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment last week (11–17 October) have not been vaccinated, compared to 67 percent the previous week. 

According to figures by Helsingin Sanomat, for every 100,000 unvaccinated people, 12.7 were hospitalised. The corresponding figure for those who were fully vaccinated was only 0.8. This indicates that people who have not received the vaccine are 16 times more likely to be hospitalised for COVID-19.


THL recommends third vaccine dose for aged population, high-risk groups

THL has suggested that municipalities provide a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone aged 60 and over as well as those who fall in risk groups 1 and 2, which include medical conditions that could lead to severe illness from the virus. 

The recommendations also apply to those living in nursing homes, regardless of their age. Approximately 77,000 people, including those in high-risk groups as well as healthcare workers, have already received the booster shot, that is, the third dose of the vaccine.  


Lutheran church loses members after bishop shares opinion on vaccines

A pro-vaccine opinion piece by Teemu Laajasalo, the Lutheran Bishop of Helsinki, has stirred controversy. The article, which was published by Helsingin Sanomat on Monday, has reportedly led to over 200 members leaving the church. 

In the article, Laajasalo urges people to get vaccinated, stating that anyone who chooses not to do so without a valid medical reason is being irresponsible and endangering the lives of others. He also points to the “indisputable medical evidence” that proves the vaccine is effective. 

The parishioners who have cut ties with the church have described Laajasalo’s writing as “hate speech” and condemned his views as “unchristian” as they are allegedly aimed at evoking guilt among those who have not been unvaccinated.  


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times