THL says getting a flu shot is “especially important” this year

Some municipalities have already started their seasonal influenza vaccination programme - and there's a long list of people considered 'at risk' who get it for free.

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File picture of doctor giving a shot / Credit: istock

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL is advising that it’s more important for people to get a seasonal flu shot now, to help protect them during the coronavirus epidemic.

Some municipalities have already started offering the influenza vaccines, but in most places the vaccine programme will begin in November.

“Having influenza and Covid-19 at the same time is a bad combination for anyone but especially for the risk groups. That is why it is especially important to get vaccinated against influenza this year. The vaccine prevents the spread of influenza and protects your health and your family and friends” says Hanna Nohynek, THL’s Chief Physician.

The vaccine will be free to anyone for whom influenza is a health risk, or those who receive significant health benefits from getting vaccinated, including (but not limited to) people over 65; children aged 6 months to 6 years; pregnant women; men and women starting military service; social and health care, and pharmaceutical services personnel.

“Like in previous years, mass vaccinations are not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic but it is possible to arrange vaccination events by appointment.  The people responsible for vaccination in the municipality can make arrangements to ensure that vaccination is safe and good hygiene is practiced” says Nohynek.

Anyone entitled to a free vaccination can obtain it from their own health centre, child health clinic or maternity clinic. Health centres will provide information about local vaccination schedules and locations.

If you are not in a high risk group, you can still get a prescription from a doctor, buy the vaccine in a pharmacy, and visit a health centre to have it administered. The vaccine is also available from private medical centres, and some employers offer the vaccination to their staff in which case it will be administered by the occupational health services.