Finland has received 4.2 million doses of vaccine
Finland has so far received 4.2 million doses of the swine flu vaccine. The 1.4 million doses that arrived recently will be distributed to municipalities this week. The rest of the vaccines, a total of 1.1 million doses, should arrive in a few weeks.
In Finland the swine flu situation has remained stable, although infections still occur. The second wave of the swine flu epidemic will probably arrive in Finland next autumn at the latest. Good vaccination coverage could prevent a new outbreak of the epidemic. So far around two million Finns have already been vaccinated. Vaccination against swine flu is still recommended to everyone. Especially the persons in the at-risk groups who have not yet been vaccinated should get the vaccine even though at present the vaccinations are targeted at the healthy adult population.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health recommends that municipalities complete the vaccinations swiftly and flexibly. The special vaccination arrangements could then be dismantled by the end of March, and a return to normality would be possible in health care. Even after this the health services should offer the vaccine as usual especially to persons in the at-risk groups who have not yet been vaccinated; these include pregnant women, persons with medical condition causing a risk of developing a serious illness, and children aged over six months.
Occupational health services have taken part in the vaccination campaign, and employers can still enter agreements to vaccinate their employees through the occupational health services. Information on the vaccinations is available at the National Institute for Health and Welfare webpage www.thl.fi, the municipalities' own webpages, and the health centres.Single dose should be enough
The data available at present indicates that a single dose of the swine flu vaccine should be enough to immunise both children and adults against swine flu, and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) does not recommend two doses of vaccine. Earlier it was assumed that for example children would need a second dose.
The swine flu vaccine used in Finland is well tolerated. The range and prevalence of side effects do not give any reasons to suspect the safety of the vaccine and the side effects are similar to those of influenza vaccines in general. The most common side effect has been local reactions where the injection was given. Over 10 per cent of the vaccinated have experienced fever, muscle ache and fatigue or headache.
All the EU Member States using the swine flu vaccines follow up the symptoms that in temporal terms can be linked to the vaccination. The symptoms are, then, reported to EMEA, which systematically goes through the suspected adverse reactions to the vaccines and publishes a pharmacovigilance report every week.Changes in the influenza hotline opening hours
The influenza telephone hotline operates on weekdays from 12 to 17. The hotline answers general questions about swine flu and swine flu vaccinations. Advice regarding the health status of callers is not given via telephone. The telephone number of the service is 0800 02277 in Finnish and 0800 02278 in Swedish.
The telephone hotline has been in operation since the end of July. The number of calls has decreased in recent weeks to around 30 per day.More information
Merja Saarinen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. (09) 160 74030
Tapani Melkas, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. (09) 160 73886
Kristiina Mukala, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. (09) 160 74342
Petri Ruutu, Professor, Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. 020 610 8670
Tuija Leino, Senior Research Officer, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. 020 610 8787
Swine flu (National Institute for Health and Welfare)