Swine flu vaccine for the entire population
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and National Institute for Health and Welfare:
The entire population will be vaccinated against swine influenza. The pandemic coordination group at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has, on the recommendation of the National vaccination expert group, decided that vaccinations are continued in accordance with the decree issued in September. The decree ordains that the last group to be vaccinated is the healthy adult population over 24 years of age.
Vaccinations of healthy people aged over 24 years are to commence at the turn of the year. By then, enough vaccines have arrived in Finland and the groups of population most vulnerable to serious forms of the disease will have been vaccinated. The six first groups to be vaccinated include two million people and around one million has already been vaccinated.
The vaccine is free and voluntary. Vaccinating the entire population guards against the next swine flu wave. Judging from earlier influenza pandemics, there can be two or even three waves of epidemic. Vaccinating the entire population will probably have little impact on the ongoing first wave of the epidemic.
The municipalities answer for organising the vaccinations and for providing information to their residents. Employers can have their employees vaccinated also within the occupational health services. The occupational health service provider and the municipality agree on the vaccination arrangements. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health gives the municipalities guidelines on how to organise the vaccination of the healthy adult population.
Finland has received around one million doses of vaccine, and 236,000 doses more will arrive this week. At the moment municipalities are vaccinating small children and school children. Over 64-year-olds belonging to the high-risk groups will be vaccinated before commencing the vaccination of the healthy adult population.Swine flu vaccine has no unexpected harmful effects
No serious or unexpected adverse reactions to the swine flu vaccine have been detected in Finland. Local reactions, such as pain where the injection was given, are common. Typical side effects include also muscle aches, joint pains, headache and fever; slightly over 10 per cent of people who have been vaccinated experience these. The symptoms will pass in a day or two.
It seems that different kinds of allergic reactions are more likely with the swine flu vaccine than with seasonal flu vaccines. There reactions are not common, but preparedness for their treatment should exist as with any other vaccination. The European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) states that a follow-up study on the side effects of 5 million doses of swine flu vaccine ascertain that the three vaccines used in Europe are as safe as was expected.Epidemic has reached its peak
The peak of the swine flu epidemic has been reached almost everywhere in Finland. In the northern parts of the country, the epidemic is already subsiding. A total of 6,122 influenza A(H1N1) infections have been diagnosed in Finland. Since not all infections have been confirmed in laboratory, the real number of infections is manifold. It is estimated that the epidemic will last at least two to three weeks more in Finland. For the majority of those who have fallen ill, the disease is relatively mild and resembles common seasonal influenza. A total of 16 swine flu related deaths have been reportedin Finland; 15 of the patients had an underlying disease exposing to complications.
Reports by the State Provincial Offices indicate that the social and health care system has on average managed well with the increasing need for services due to the epidemic. Municipalities and joint municipal boards have adjusted their service system to the epidemic in accordance with contingency plans. The situation is in control regarding, for example, staff, hospital beds, medicines, and health care materials.Evira and THL: Suspected human to pig transfer of swine flu
It is possible that the swine flu virus has passed from human to pigs in a Finnish pig farm. The Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira) has analysed the sample and then sent it to the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) laboratory for confirmation. Similar infections have now and then been reported in different countries since last May. The human-to-pig transmission is not expected to affect the course of the epidemic in the Finnish population. It is safe to eat pork.
Influenza is a typical zoonosis, a microbe common to both humans and several species of animals that can be transmitted from animals to humans, but also from humans to animals. Quite a large number of infectious diseases are zoonoses, i.e., microbes common to humans and animals.Further information:
Merja Saarinen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 9 160 74030
Juhani Eskola, Director-General, National Institute for Health and Welfare,
tel. +358 20 610 6006
Docent Marjo Renko, tel. +358 50 387 8887
Terhi Kilpi, Senior Medical Officer, National Institute for Health and Welfare,
tel.+358 20 610 8678
Petri Ruutu, Professor, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 20 610 8670
Olli Haikala, Senior Medical Officer (local preparedness), Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 9 160 73214
Kari Välimäki, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health,
tel. +358 9 160 73763
Aino-Inkeri Hansson, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health,
tel. +358 9 160 73760
Päivi Sillanaukee, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health,
tel. +358 9 160 73313
Related links Influenza A(H1N1)v virus (swine flu) (The National Institute for Health and Welfare)