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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
More than half of people aged 80 or over have received their fourth vaccine dose

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 19.5.2022 10.01 | Published in English on 19.5.2022 at 13.27
Press release 128/2022

COVID-19 also spread widely among the older population in early 2022. This led to a rise in the number of COVID-19-related deaths occurring within 30 days of testing positive. However, this trend took a downward turn in late April–early May. Despite the considerable number of infections, the mortality rate among those who have received at least three vaccine doses has clearly remained at a lower level when compared to the rest of the population. More than half of people aged 80 or over have received their fourth vaccine dose.

Between 2 and 15 May, approximately 600 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to specialised healthcare. Before the number of new COVID-19 patients started to decline in April, over 800 patients were admitted to care within a two-week period. Between 2 and 15 May, a total of 47 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to intensive care, while in the preceding two-week period the number was 38. On Wednesday 18 May 2022, over 40 per cent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care and about 50 per cent of COVID-19 inpatients in specialised healthcare were being treated mainly for some other reason than COVID-19. 

On Wednesday 18 May 2022, the total number of COVID-19 patients in primary healthcare was 366. Although the number of patients started to decrease clearly in April, the total number is still high. On Wednesday 18 May, about 40 per cent of all COVID-19 patients in primary healthcare were being treated mainly for some other reason than COVID-19.

On 15 May 2022, the total number of COVID-19-related deaths reported to the communicable diseases register was 4,373. In the past two weeks (2–15 May), a total of 310 deaths were reported, while in the preceding two-week period the figure was 474. The average age (median) of those who have died during the epidemic is 83 years. 

The estimated effective basic reproduction number is  0.70–0.85 with a 90 per cent probability. The number has remained below 1 since the beginning of April. A value of below 1 indicates a downward trend in the epidemic. However, it is possible that the epidemic progresses at different speeds in different age groups. 

Based on the wastewater samples collected this (15–16 May 2022) and last week (8–9 May 2022), the overall levels of coronavirus RNA in Finland’s wastewater have remained high. However, based on the last five times when the levels were measured, the levels show a downward trend at national level. 

In Finland, over 87 per cent of people who are 18 years of age or over have received at least two vaccine doses and over 64 per cent three vaccine doses. Over 86 per cent of those aged 60 or over have received three vaccine doses, and 58 per cent of those aged 80 or over have received their fourth vaccine dose. The vaccination coverage of people aged 80 or over who have received their fourth dose has risen from 40 per cent to 58 per cent in a month. 

Vaccinations continue to provide effective protection against the more serious forms of the disease. Everyone who is not fully vaccinated are advised to complete their vaccination course as soon as possible to have better protection against the virus. A fourth vaccine dose is recommended for people aged 12 or over who have a severely weakened immune system, people aged 80 or over and all older people living in residential care homes. In addition, a fourth vaccine dose is recommended for older people who receive home care or informal care and other older people whose health and functional capacity have deteriorated. 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has compiled the key monitoring information on the COVID-19 epidemic on its website

Inquiries:

Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] 
Otto Helve, Chief Physician, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare [email protected] 
Tuija Leino, Chief Physician, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] 

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