Sunday March 07, 2021

KRAR for rapid coronavirus vaccination of 80+

Published : 22 Jan 2021, 01:18

Updated : 22 Jan 2021, 10:33

  DF Report

File Photo: City of Helsinki.

The National Vaccine Expert Group (KRAR) has emphasized that administering the available vaccines must begin as quickly as possible for those over the age of 80 so that the elderly will have a possibility to be protected against the serious COVID-19 disease.

The KRAR set by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) convened on Tuesday to discuss the progress of the coronavirus vaccination effort and to iron out details of the order in which people are vaccinated, said the THL in a press release on Thursday.

In accordance with Finland’s coronavirus vaccination strategy, coronavirus vaccines are to be offered to the elderly after most intensive care personnel, social and healthcare employees caring for coronavirus patients, and the residents and personnel of care homes for the elderly have been vaccinated.

At present most members of these groups have been given the vaccine. More than 90 per cent of intensive care personnel have been vaccinated as have more than 80 per cent of personnel on wards caring for coronavirus patients, those working in emergency rooms, and in consulting rooms for infectious diseases, as well as staff administering coronavirus tests, and laboratory personnel. There is regional variation in the vaccination rates for care homes.

“The elderly are at the greatest risk of getting the serious viral disease, which is why vaccines should be offered to them immediately”, said KRAR Chair Ville Peltola.

“Vaccination of the elderly needs to start, even if the vaccination of the previous groups has not been completed. To avoid delays, vaccination of essential social- and health-care personnel must be given in parallel,” added Peltola.

The KRAR also discussed fine-tuning details of the order of the coronavirus vaccination of high-risk groups. Risk groups involving long-term illnesses of patients less than 70 years of age will be defined in greater detail in January, when more information becomes available on target groups and age groups linked with the sales licence of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.

The KRAR recommends that the interval between doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine should be 21-28 days, and up to a maximum of 42 days for special reasons. The recommendation follows the line taken by the World Health Organisation.

A total of about 150,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have arrived in Finland during the coronavirus vaccination period so far.