Vaccination in Finland is progressing, according to figures provided by the authorities, but the country is lagging behind the rest of Europe in the administration of the second dose.
According to a statement released by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), this week the proportion of all recipients of the first dose who are over the age of 16 rose to 51%. That means that half of the adult population have already been immunized against the coronavirus at least with one shot.
In total about 2.4 million people -this is 43% of the entire Finnish population- have had their first doses of the vaccine.
However, only about 8%, or 460,000 people have already received their second doses, according to THL's statement.
Official figures show Finland is lagging behind other countries in administering the second doses.
For example, in Sweden, the percentage of people fully vaccinated is 16.6%; in Denmark it is 26.5%; in Estonia it is 20.5%; in Norway it is 16.4%; in Germany it is 16.9%; in Italy it is 21.6%; in Spain it is 21.6% and in Hungary it is 42.6%, according to figures from the Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
This European agency says that the second dose in Finland has already been received by 9.6%, a higher figure than that provided by the Finnish authorities.
Of the countries shown in the European vaccine tracker, only Bulgaria and Finland are below 10% at the time of writing this article.
The reason why only 8% of the population has already received the full regimen is because in Finland the interval between both shots is 2 or sometimes even 3 months, while in most European countries it is 3 weeks, as recommended by manufacturers such as Pfizer/BionTech.
This journal has been able to verify that, in Finland, people who have been vaccinated in May are receiving appointments to get the second dose in August and those who got the first shot in April will receive the second in July.
For THL, everything is going well.
“Vaccine coverage is rising at a good pace. For example, 80% of those aged 50 and over have received at least their first vaccines. At present, vaccines are being offered according to age groups from the oldest to the youngest. In most municipalities, vaccines are under way for those aged 40-60, but in some places, appointments have been given to all aged 16 and over”, says THL expert Mia Kontio.
According to the Finnish health agency, up to about 356,000 coronavirus vaccines will arrive in the country next week.