Wednesday October 05, 2022

Influenza vaccination rises among elderlies, slides among children

Published : 15 Sep 2022, 02:41

  DF Report

File Photo: City of Helsinki.

About 63% of those aged 65 or over took an influenza vaccine during the 2021–2022 influenza season, according to the national vaccination register.

For children aged under 3, coverage reached 41%, while for 3–6-year-olds it stood at 31%, said the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in a press release on Wednesday.

All people aged either under 7 or 65 and over are entitled to a free influenza vaccination as part of the national vaccination programme.

During the last influenza season, nearly 140,000 more vaccine doses were recorded in the vaccination register for people aged 65 years and over than were recorded during the previous season (2020–2021). Vaccination coverage of older people increased by 10 percentage points.

Influenza vaccination coverage among older people has been increasing for several years.

During the coronavirus pandemic, older people were particularly keen to get vaccinated for influenza. Some of the increase may also be due to the fact that vaccination data is now more comprehensively collected into the vaccination register.

When examined by health centre, vaccination coverage among older people varied between about 28% and 74%. When examined by municipality, the differences in coverage remain large. However, more than 200 municipalities reached a coverage of over 60%.

The enthusiasm of families with young children for taking the influenza vaccine has also been increasing steadily for several years, but coverage has decreased slightly during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the national vaccination register, 41% of children under the age of three and 31% of three to six-year-old children were vaccinated against influenza last autumn or winter. The corresponding figures for the year before were 43% and 35%. The majority of 2–6-year-olds received their influenza vaccine as a nasal spray.

The coverage of influenza vaccinations across different health centre areas varied from 5% to 63% for children under the age of three and from 4% to almost 59% for three to six-year-old children. Vaccination uptake was considerably higher in Eastern Finland than in Western Finland.