Information on COVID-19 vaccination

In Uusimaa, the Comirnaty vaccine by BioNTech-Pfizer is in use for people aged 12 and older for their first and second vaccine dose, and the Spikevax vaccine by Moderna for women and girls, and men over the age of 30.  The Janssen and Novovax vaccines may also be used.

Children aged 5 to 11 years will receive a children’s vaccine manufactured by BioNTech-Pfizer.

Previously, AstraZeneca’s vaccine with the brand name Vaxzevria was also in use.

BioNTech-Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines represent a new type of mRNA vaccine. You can read more about mRNA vaccines on THL’s website.

The vaccines by Janssen and AstraZeneca are adenovirus vector vaccines. You can find more information on adenovirus vaccines on THL’s website.

Novavax’s Nuvaxovid vaccine is available by making an appointment by phone. Its active substances are the surface protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, known as the spike protein, and an adjuvant used to enhance the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Additional new vaccines are also expected to enter the market.

Your municipality can provide you with more information on the vaccines available.

It is important that you take all offered vaccines and get vaccinated according to your vaccination schedule.

The basic coronavirus vaccine series involves two vaccines, and an additional booster is recommended for everyone over the age of 18 and for those over 12 years of age who are severely immunocompromised and at risk for a severe infection. If there is any delay with the 2nd dose, it should be given as soon as possible.

3rd vaccine dose is recommended to

  • severely immunocompromised persons aged 12 years or older 2 months after the second vaccine dose
  • persons aged 60 years or older
  • at-risk groups 1 and 2 prone to a severe form of COVID-19 (further information on at-risk groups can be found on the THL website, in Finnish)
  • social welfare and healthcare personnel and care services personnel
  • all other persons aged 18 and over
  • to people aged 12 and older who are at risk for a severe infection.

In addition, everyone over the age of 12 can be given the third dose if they need it for travelling, COVID-19 vaccination certificate, or some other compelling reason.

It is best to take the third dose as soon as possible when it is possible for your vaccine priority group. Further information is available on THL’s website.

The 4th vaccine dose is recommended 3 months after the 3rd dose for the following groups:

  • Severely immunocompromised persons aged 12 and over
  • People over 80 years of age and people living in a care home for the elderly without a specific age limit
  • Elderly persons who receive home care services or need an informal carer, and elderly persons whose health and/or functional capacity is similarly weakened that they cannot manage on their own at home
  • People aged 70–79 who are at risk for a severe infection.

5th vaccine dose may be given to:

  • Severely immunocompromised persons aged 12 and over. The vaccine can be given when 4 months have passed from the 4th vaccine dose. Having COVID-19 can be equivalent to receiving one booster vaccine.

Municipalities may have slightly different schedules for vaccinations. Please check the current situation for vaccination groups on your municipality’s vaccination website.

The vaccination point’s staff will check that you belong to a group that is currently receiving vaccinations. Please see THL’s website for more information.

COVID-19 vaccine protects against the COVID-19 disease and especially its severe forms. The first dose does not provide the necessary protection against the infection. It is therefore important to get all the recommended vaccine doses.

Even after the vaccination, it is still important to maintain a safe distance to others, exercise proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette, wear a mask, get tested in case symptoms emerge and follow all the other instructions to prevent the COVID-19 disease from spreading. You can read instructions on THL’s website.

THL instructs municipalities to offer the third COVID-19 vaccine to those people over the age of 12 whose immune response has been severely weakened because of an illness or its treatment. In addition, THL recommends the third vaccine dose to those men aged 30 or over and women who have received their vaccines at a short dose interval and at least 6 months have passed from the second dose.

All vaccinations may cause symptoms and adverse reactions. The majority of vaccine-related adverse reactions occur within six weeks of vaccination.

The most common symptoms caused by a vaccine include symptoms on the injection site, such as discomfort, redness, heat and swelling. Temporary general symptoms are also very common, such as fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills, nausea, and fever.

Both localized and general symptoms usually occur within two days of vaccination. They pass in a few hours or days. They can be treated with fever and pain medication. These symptoms do not prevent you from further vaccination. You should prepare for the above-mentioned symptoms when you choose the time for your vaccination.

Other adverse effects, such as severe allergic reactions, have been very rare.

Based on data from other countries, the most common adverse reactions in children have been similar to the adverse reactions in vaccinated people over the age of 12. Children aged 5 to 11 years will receive a children’s vaccine manufactured by BioNTech-Pfizer.

Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis) with a possible link to mRNA vaccines has been reported as a very rare adverse reaction after the first or the second mRNA vaccination dose. The majority of the cases have been diagnosed in men under the age of 30. The number of cases in Finland is very small and not sufficient for drawing definite conclusions on the level of the risk. The symptoms have usually been mild and they have emerged within 14 days from the second vaccine dose. On the other hand, contracting COVID-19 also increases the risk of myocarditis. Under the precautionary principle, men under the age of 30 will only be offered the mRNA vaccine as the third vaccine.

It is advisable to avoid extremely strenuous exercise for 3 days after receiving the vaccine even though there is no direct evidence of a link between mRNA vaccines, physical activity and myocarditis. There is no need to restrict everyday physical activity if the person vaccinated feels well. If you have fever or feel generally unwell after the vaccination, it is recommended to avoid physical activity for the duration of the symptoms. Contact an emergency clinic if you experience chest pain, arrhythmias or dyspnea after the vaccination.

Finland, other Nordic countries, and Germany have reported slightly more cases than usual of very rare cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in people younger than 65 after receiving AstraZeneca’s vaccine. In Finland, the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccines has been discontinued. Currently, the vaccine manufactured by Janssen is offered to people for whom the mRNA vaccine is unsuitable.

Using two different COVID-19 vaccines successively may cause slightly more side effects, such as fever, muscle ache and tiredness. These will pass in a few days. 

Authorities are always monitoring the safety of vaccines after deployment.

Children under the age of 5 are not currently being vaccinated.

The choice of vaccine product depends on the age group:

  • Girls under 12 years of age and men and boys under 30 are not vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine. It will also not be used for the third vaccination of 12- to 17-year-olds.
  • The AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines are not, in principle, given to people under 65 years of age. See exceptions, for example, in cases of allergy.
  • Nuvaxovid is generally only used for 1st and 2nd vaccine doses.

A person with a fever or a febrile infection. In this case, the vaccination appointment should be postponed.

If a person has had an anaphylactic reaction to the first vaccine or any of its ingredients, the same vaccine product should not be used again

  • The BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not suitable for persons with polyethylene glycol allergy (PEG).

If you have a history of cerebral venous thrombosis (sinus thrombosis), heparin-induced or associated thrombocytopenia (HIT), thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) or capillary leak syndrome, the AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccine is not suitable for you. You will receive another vaccine. In this case, make an appointment by phone. A history of cerebral infarction, cerebral hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage does not prevent the administration of the vaccine. A previous pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, for example, in the lower extremities is also not an obstacle to administering the vaccine.

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommends that all pregnant people take the vaccine. Pregnant people belong to risk group 2 in the vaccination order. You can take the COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy. Taking the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy is especially important if you have other risk factors. Further information on the THL website.

It is best to have the vaccine taken at least a week before or a week after an operation or a surgical procedure. People who have not yet recovered from their surgery, who are in poor general health, or are suspected of having a wound infection should not take the vaccine.

There are no downsides to being vaccinated even if the person had a coronavirus infection in its incubation period. A previous COVID-19 infection will give most people immunity for up to 6 months. Please see THL’s website for more detailed information.

For people with immune deficiency, and the elderly, the immunity from having had the disease is weaker. In their cases, it is individually decided if they should receive the vaccine sooner or at a shorter interval than the rest of the population.

Even those with prolonged symptoms can be vaccinated. The vaccination date should be changed if the person is in a very poor condition, the examination has not been completed yet or the symptoms have suddenly worsened.

If you’ve had COVID-19, the current recommendation is that you take the 1st and 2nd vaccine doses. Immunity from having had the virus can replace taking the 3rd vaccine dose. If you are severely immunocompromised, you are advised to take the 4rd vaccine even if you have had COVID-19. The 3rd vaccine dose can also be given to others over the age of 12 for travelling or due to some other compelling reason, even after having had COVID-19. For now, the 4th dose is generally not necessary if you have had COVID-19.