COVID-19 vaccinations began today with the vaccination of Helsinki’s health care professionals. More than 200 health care workers booked an appointment for the first day of vaccinations.
During the days leading to New Year’s Eve, the first vaccines will be administered to care workers who treat COVID-19 patients – e.g. the personnel of the Laakso and Malmi corona health stations, Helsinki City Hospital’s COVID-19 wards and the first aid unit of the Helsinki Rescue Department.
After this, the vaccination process will continue when new vaccines are received. This week, 200–300 health care professionals will be vaccinated each day as the first in line according to national policies.
“It is wonderful news that the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccinations are now under way. We naturally hope that everyone of those recommended to do so will get vaccinated during the spring season,” says Leena Turpeinen, Director of Health and Substance Abuse Services.
“The vaccinations, which were planned on very short notice, have got off to a good start. We are now well-positioned to continue with the vaccination of elderly and at-risk people as well as other Helsinki residents next year,” Turpeinen adds.
According to the current estimate, the vaccination of senior citizens and those susceptible to the severe variant of COVID-19 due to an illness will most likely begin in February.
“We will be providing Helsinki residents with more information on vaccination schedules and appointment booking once we receive the vaccines,” Turpeinen says.
Hoping to return to normal hospital activities
The atmosphere on the first day of vaccinations was hopeful and, at times, even excited.
Anna-Maija Lehto was among the first ones to receive the vaccine. She works at Laakso Hospital.
“I haven’t been afraid of the coronavirus in my work, but I still decided to get vaccinated as soon as possible. I hope that the epidemic starts to dissipate soon. It would be great to be back to normal hospital activities by autumn,” Lehto says.
The vaccines were administered by personnel of the City of Helsinki Department of Social Services and Health Care. One of them was nurse Marketta Tiira.
“This is what we have been waiting for. This is an amazing and historic moment. It is a privilege to be among the ones on the front line, even though the epidemic is obviously a horrible thing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to a professional,” Tiira descibes.