Information on COVID-19 vaccination

In Uusimaa, the Comirnaty vaccine by BioNTech-Pfizer is used for people over the age of 12, and the Spikevax vaccine by Moderna for women, girls, and men over the age of 30.  The Janssen vaccine may also be used with specific consideration. 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.

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

The coronavirus vaccine involves two doses, the latter of which will be injected 6-12 weeks after the 1st one. If there is any delay with the booster vaccine, the 2nd dose should be injected as soon as possible. Currently, a third vaccine dose is also offered to everyone over the age of 18, and to severely immunocompromised persons over the age of 12.

If you have had COVID-19, the recommendation is that you have two vaccines unless you are severely immunocompromised.

3rd vaccine dose may be given to

  • severely immunocompromised persons aged 12 years or older 2 months after the second vaccine dose
  • persons who were vaccinated with a short interval of less than 6 weeks
  • persons aged 60 years or older
  • residents in care facilities and nursing homes
  • 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)
  •  social and healthcare professionals
  • All other people aged 18 years or older

It is best to have the third dose as soon as possible when it is possible for your vaccine priority group.

Municipalities may have slightly different schedules for vaccinations. Please check the situation in your home municipality’s website.

The vaccination point’s staff will check that you belong to a group that is currently receiving third doses.

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 Moderna vaccine is not used for vaccination of girls under 12 and men and boys under 30 years of age
  • 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.

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.

THL recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for all pregnant women. 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, so the vaccine should be given 6 months from the COVID-19 infection. Please see THL’s website for more detailed information.

For people with immune deficiency, and the elderly, the immunity from having had the disease may be weaker. In their cases, it is individually decided if they should receive the vaccine sooner.

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 first and second vaccine doses. Immunity from having had the virus replaces taking the third vaccine dose. If you are severely immunocompromised, you are advised to take the third vaccine even if you have had COVID-19.

 

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