Saturday 10/16/21

The Covid-19 epidemic recedes in Finland but vaccination stalls

About 52% of the population have received their first vaccine dose but only 13% have been fully vaccinated.
23 April 2021, Schleswig-Holstein, Husum: Empty Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine vials can be seen on a table in the laboratory of the Husum Vaccination Centre. Photo: Marcus Brandt/dpa
Empty Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine vials can be seen on a table in the laboratory of the Husum Vaccination Centre. Photo: Marcus Brandt/dpa

The Covid-19 epidemic is in clear decline in Finland but the country is stuck on vaccination.

According to the latest data provided by the Finnish health authorities, on Wednesday 16 June around 52% of the population had received the first dose, but only 13% were fully vaccinated.

Finland progresses at a good pace -often faster- to that of other European countries in the administration of the first dose, but at the time of writing this article is the slowest in Europe when it comes to providing the second shot. The reason for this is the decision of the local authorities to wait almost 3 months between both doses, when the recommended time for the vaccines mainly used in the Nordic country (Pfizer, Moderna) is 21 to 28 days.

The epidemic has continued to subside throughout the Nordic country within the last two weeks.

However, health authorities warned there is "still regional variation in the development of the epidemic, as the incidence of Covid-19 cases is higher in some areas of southern Finland than in the rest of the country."

Overall, the epidemic situation is calm, with most areas recording only a small number of new cases, according to the latest monitoring report released by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Between 7 and 13 June, a total of 543 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, which is about 170 cases fewer than in the preceding week when the figure was 717.

The incidence of new cases has continued to fall. In the last two-week period (31 May–13 June), the incidence of new cases was 23 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period (17–30 May), it was 40. 

In most of the areas, the epidemic was at a stable level on 16 June, according to the overall assessments made by the hospital districts. Only three areas were in the acceleration phase: Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme.

None of the areas were in the community transmission phase, the Ministry specified.

Virus coming from abroad

The percentage of cases where the virus was contracted abroad has continued to grow.

Between 7 and 13 June, the cases of foreign origin accounted for 19% of all new cases, while in the previous week they accounted for 16%. However, further infections resulting from them have been prevented well as before, and they accounted for 2.7% of all confirmed cases.

According to the hospital districts, a total of 43 people were receiving hospital care due to the Covid-19 disease on 16 June. Of them, 12 were in intensive care.

The numbers of patients have fallen over the past month.

Finnish health authorities reported 94,026 coronavirus infections and 967 deaths since the pandemic started.