Nurse vaccinating a woman.

Coronavirus vaccination of individuals aged 18-44 susceptible to severe COVID-19 begins in Helsinki

Residents of Helsinki aged 18–44 with illnesses or conditions that expose to severe COVID-19 can start booking vaccination appointments at bookcovidvaccine.fi from 16:00 on Thursday 8 April onwards. Vaccination appointments can also be booked by phone by calling the appointment booking number 09 310 46300 from 8:00 on Friday 9 April onwards.

For those belonging to risk group 2 and those turning 45 or older this year, the online vaccination appointment booking service was opened yesterday and the phone service was opened today.

Illnesses or conditions that can result in very high susceptibility to severe COVID-19 are the following:

- asthma requiring continuous medication,

- severe heart disease, including heart failure (but not just hypertension),

- neurological illness or condition that affects breathing,

- immunosuppressive medication for an autoimmune disease,

- severe chronic liver disease,

- type 1 diabetes or adrenal insufficiency,

- moderate to severe sleep apnoea,

- psychotic disorder and

- morbid obesity (body mass index of 40 or above).

More information on illnesses exposing people to severe COVID-19 and on the groups currently being vaccinated can be found at coronavaccination-en.hel.fi.

Vaccine entitlement is checked at the vaccination points by using the Kanta service or the City of Helsinki patient information system. If the person to be vaccinated is not a client of the City of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care Division due to an illness or the information of the Kanta service cannot be accessed, the illness or condition making the person highly susceptible to severe COVID-19 shall be proved otherwise, e.g. with a copy of the patient record.

Vaccinations are being carried out at the vaccination points of Jätkäsaari, Messukeskus, Malmi and Myllypuro. Due to the increase in the number of available vaccine doses, the opening hours of the vaccination points have been extended. From now on, the vaccination points will remain open until 20:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The vaccination points are also open on Saturdays.

Information about vaccinations provided via text message

The City of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care Division will be sending out text messages to persons aged 18–44 and belonging to risk group 2. The text message will be sent to all those who are clients of the Social Services and Health Care Division for health-related reasons. The text messages will be sent out on Thursday 8 April.

The text message indicates that the recipient may belong to the group currently scheduled for vaccination. Recipients are urged to check whether or not this is the case and, if necessary, read the appointment booking instructions at coronavaccination-en.hel.fi. The sender information of the text message will read HKI SOTE.

If you receive the text message but do not belong to a risk group, you do not need to take any action and can wait for your age group’s vaccination to begin later this year.

However, the message will not reach all those scheduled for vaccination due to an illness, as some are clients of occupational or specialised health care services. Furthermore, a telephone number is not registered for all persons who are clients of the Social Services and Health Care Division for health-related reasons. For this reason, information on coronavirus vaccinations is also published in newspapers.

The text messages are targeted with the help of the Health Benefit Analysis tool. The Analysis leverages data available in the patient information system, as well as reasoning based on scientific evidence.

More age groups will be covered as more vaccine doses become available

Vaccines will be administered without delay as they become available.

The COVID-19 vaccinations of Helsinki residents aged 70 and above, as well as their informal carers, are still continuing. In Helsinki, 89% of people aged 80 and above have so far received their first vaccination. Of 75–79-year-olds and 70–74-year-olds, 87% and 73%, respectively, have been vaccinated.

The vaccinations of persons aged 16 or over who are highly susceptible to severe COVID-19 due to an illness (risk group 1) and social and healthcare personnel are also ongoing. All residents of Helsinki aged 65–69 can also book appointments to get vaccinated.

The City of Helsinki uses two different vaccines. At present, people aged 65 and above are vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Based on the precautionary principle, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not given to persons who have had a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) in the past. People aged 16–64 are currently being given the Pfizer vaccine. Two shots of the vaccines are administered. The vaccine jabs will be administered at an interval of 12 weeks, in accordance with the National Institute for Health and Welfare’s recommendation. The appointment for the second vaccination is set in conjunction with the first vaccination. You may not choose the vaccine given to you. The vaccine is free of charge and voluntary.

Persons who have already had COVID-19 are offered the vaccine after at least six months have passed from the onset of symptoms or from the confirmed infection.