COVID-19 vaccines

The vaccines should reduce symptoms and prevent serious illness and death from the COVID-19 disease. At best, they can prevent infection and transmission. With vaccinating, we can help people stay healthy, avoid straining the healthcare system capacity and keep society as open as possible.

Everyone in Finland can get vaccinated — if they want to

COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to everyone the age of 5 or over in Finland. Vaccination is voluntary and free of charge for all. Finland aims to maximise vaccination coverage.

Government decrees on COVID-19 vaccinations:

Finland's COVID-19 vaccination strategy outlines the main principles of vaccination

In its plenary session on 25 November 2021, the Government adopted a Government resolution on a vaccination strategy.

The strategy outlines the main principles of vaccination, and it is based on medical science and research evidence. 

In line with the Government’s hybrid strategy to manage the COVID-19 epidemic, vaccinations can keep society open and make it possible to engage in different activities in society. Vaccination also reduces the number of COVID-19 cases and ensures that the capacity and availability of healthcare services remains adequate.

To increase vaccination coverage and achieve the objectives, we must

  • increase the percentage of people who have received two vaccine doses in the population by focusing effective measures especially on those population groups and areas where shortcomings have been identified in the vaccination coverage
  • strengthen the vaccination coverage of the population by enhancing the provision of a third round of vaccine doses
  • prepare for vaccination of children under the age of 12
  • assess and, if necessary, prepare legislative amendments to ensure patient safety.

The vaccination strategy is temporary and in force until 30 June 2022. The strategy will be updated in spring 2022 when new monitoring data on the epidemiological situation, vaccination coverage and the effects of vaccinations become available.

Healthcare and social welfare employers obligated to ensure the safety of services during the COVID-19 epidemic

A new temporary section (48a) of the Communicable Diseases Act prescribes that healthcare and social welfare employers can be obligated to ensure that their employees do not pose a risk of COVID-19 infection to the persons they are caring for.

The section provides that employees with inadequate vaccination coverage against COVID-19 can work with clients and patients only in exceptional circumstances.

Vaccines need EU marketing authorisation

Only vaccines that meet strict standards for vaccine quality, safety and efficacy can be granted a marketing authorisation. The European Commission grants marketing authorisations in the EU based on a scientific evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

In the EU there are four COVID-19 vaccines which have been granted a marketing authorisation:

  • COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty developed by Pfizer-BioNTech
  • COVID‑19 vaccine developed by Moderna
  • COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria developed by AstraZeneca
  • COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen-Cilag (Johnson&Johnson)
  • COVID-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid developed by Novavax

Finland gets vaccines through EU joint procurement

Finland will procure all its COVID-19 vaccines through the EU joint procurement. The joint procurement means that the European Commission will procure vaccines for all Member States. The large number of orders will give the EU bargaining power at a time when the global demand for vaccines is enormous. 

The European Commission is negotiating advance purchase agreements with a number of vaccine producers on behalf of the Member States. The EU is also committed to global solidarity to ensure equitable access to vaccines.

The Commission has so far advance agreements with seven vaccine producers:

  •  AstraZeneca (300 million doses)
  •  Sanofi-GSK* (300 million doses)
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen-Cilag, 200 million doses)
  • BioNTech-Pfizer (1400 million doses), 900 million doses option
  • Moderna (480 million doses)
  • Novavax* (total of maximum 100 million doses)
  • Valneva* (27 million doses)

*So far, the vaccines developed by Sanofi, Valneva and Novavax have not been granted a marketing authorisation in the EU, and for this reason, they are not yet used in the EU. 

The agreements have been concluded between the Commission and the relevant companies, and they are secret. The Commission is responsible for providing information about the agreements.

So far, Finland is party to six procurement agreements. Four vaccine producers have submitted their vaccine candidates for accelerated assessment by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EU advance purchase agreements are being financed through the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), while the Member States will pay for the rest. Finland has reserved funding in the Budget sufficient to cover its own share of the procurement. All 27 Member States take part in the joint procurement.

COVID-19 vaccines and international cooperation

Finland is strongly committed to solidarity in promoting global access to COVID-19 vaccines. On 9 September 2021, the Government decided to donate a total of 3.65 million vaccine doses through the global COVAX Facility.

Further information

Sari Ekholm, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Medical Affairs 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Safety, Security and Health / TUTO, Biotechnology and Medicines Unit / BILA 0295163447