Government to send proposal out for consultation on changes to vaccine rollout order
In its meeting on 31 March, the Government discussed a proposal by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare that would make changes to the order of priority for COVID-19 vaccination. The Government decided to send the proposal out for consultation as it stands. The consultation round will last until 13 April. The Government will decide on amendments to the current decree on COVID-19 vaccines once the consultation process is complete.
In line with the proposal now going out for consultation, the vaccination strategy would be changed permanently with regard to the order of vaccination of different age groups and the persons authorised to administer the vaccine, and temporarily with regard to the regional allocation of vaccines until 31 May 2021.
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is responsible for distributing the vaccines to the regions in proportion to the population that is eligible for vaccination according to the current government decree. The decree currently in force does not provide for the regional allocation of vaccine doses.
Proposal would distribute vaccines by age group
Once vaccines have been given to the three main priority groups – people at risk, older people and healthcare and social welfare workers caring for COVID-19 patients – the rest of the population would be vaccinated by age group in descending order as follows: 60–69-year-olds, 50–59-year-olds, 40–49-year-olds, 30–39-year-olds and 16–29-year-olds.
Dentists and students in healthcare fields could also administer vaccines
The amendment to the vaccination decree would also allow doses to be administered by dentists and by students studying to be healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, public health nurses or midwives) under the guidance and supervision of a professional.
Under the current decree, vaccination injections can only be administered by doctors or by nurses, public health nurses or midwives who have received the appropriate vaccination training.
Vaccines could be targeted by region
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is responsible for distributing the vaccines to the regions in proportion to the population that is eligible for vaccination according to the current government decree.
With the proposed changes to the vaccine rollout order, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare could allocate some of the individual batches of vaccine in a targeted manner based on the number of people in the hospital district, the number of COVID-19 cases in the previous 14 days and the number of people requiring specialised care in the previous 14 days with equal weight given to each factor.
Targeting would be possible if the incidence of infections in the area is at least 100 per 100,000 inhabitants during the previous 14 days. Targeted distribution would only be possible if all people over 70 years of age and all those belonging to risk groups in the area have already received their first dose of the vaccine. In addition, targeted allocation must not prevent a person from receiving their second dose of vaccine in the same vaccination series or delay their second dose.