Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus vaccinations
Has been updated on the 25th of May 2021
Below is a compilation of questions about coronavirus vaccines and arranging vaccinations in Soite’s area. The questions were answered by Soite’s chief physician of infectious diseases, medical director and the director for the service section Health centre services. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has also been used as a source.
Please note that the situation changes quickly. Many practical questions are resolved as vaccines arrive in the area and as the spring progresses. The content of this page is updated when the situation changes.
What is the vaccination order based on in Soite?
Soite follows Finland’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy (in Finnish). The vaccination order is the same in the whole of Finland.
The objectives of the coronavirus vaccinations in Finland is most importantly to lower the disease burden of COVID-19, i.e. severe cases, premature deaths and years of potential life lost and to maintain the functioning of the health care system.
How is the age-limit for vaccinations determined: based on the year of birth or based on the date of birth?
If you have turned e.g. 70, you have the right to vaccination, i.e. the date of birth is the determining factor, not the year of birth. Soite acts in accordance with instructions from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL.
Can I in some way make my vaccination turn come sooner?
It is not possible to jump in the queue or push past others. The rules are nationwide and the same for everyone.
Patience is now needed — everyone gets their turn eventually. The most important thing is that the vaccinations are proceeding and that we are coming closer to herd immunity.
What COVID-19 vaccines does Soite use?
In Soite’s area, persons who belong to risk group 1 and 2 and are 16–64 years old and persons aged 60 to 64 are vaccinated with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty or Moderna).
Persons over the age of 65 are vaccinated with Astra Zeneca’s vaccine in accordance with instructions from The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL has decided that 65–69-year-old persons may also be vaccinated with mRNA vaccines from the beginning of May if the person who is to be vaccinated so chooses (more information in THL’s text in Finnish). In Soite’s area, this means that from 1st of May persons over the age of 65 may choose if they are vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty or Moderna) or with AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine. Over 65-year-old persons are primarily offered AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine. If the person who is to be vaccinated wishes to have an mRNA vaccine, the person must inform about their choice when booking an appointment by phone. If the appointment is booked online, the person must choose the vaccine they want to have in the Omahoito service.
Please note! Exceptions are persons over the age of 65 who have had a sinus thrombosis or who have had a low platelet count in connection with treatment with heparin (thrombocytopenia, HIT): these persons are vaccinated with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty or Moderna). If you have had such an illness, please book your appointment by phone.
The second vaccine dose is given in accordance with THL’s instructions:
- persons over the age of 65 who have received a dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine are primarily given AstraZeneca’s vaccine when they are vaccinated for the second time.
- persons under the age of 65 are always given an mRNA vaccine when they are vaccinated for the second time. A person under the age of 65 cannot choose AstraZeneca’s vaccine as their second vaccine dose even if they have been vaccinated with it the first time.
Why has the phone and online booking functioned so slowly during the first weeks of vaccinations? Why has not more resources been added to answering phones?
The number of persons who answer phones has been increased, but during the winter holiday week (week 9) the number of persons answering phones was smaller than normally. On Tuesday the 2nd of March 700 phone calls were answered and a much greater number of appointments were given out.
It is also good to note that other health care and social services function normally despite the coronavirus epidemic. Not all resources can be used for the coronavirus work. As many employees as possible have been assigned to the coronavirus work.
The number of persons who have contacted Soite’s appointment booking online has surprised even those who are experts on the software. The online booking system has periodically been down because of an overload, but the system is continually developed further.
If the appointment booking is congested because of the number of persons who use it, does that mean that appointments cannot be booked and that not all vaccines are used?
Appointments are given out as long as appointments are available. Congestion in the telephone or online booking does not slow down the progress of vaccinations and all vaccines are used. In Soite, zero vaccines have been wasted.
Via the telephone booking, we take clients onto the so called waiting list. If someone is not able to come to a vaccination they have booked, e.g. because of illness, we call someone on the waiting list and offer a vaccination. This is one way of preventing vaccines from being wasted.
Why does Soite not call all residents in the area and arrange a vaccination appointment individually?
The number of persons over the age of 70 alone is 12 500 in Soite’s area. It would be very slow work to call all of them in order to arrange an appointment individually.
Soite tried calling some special groups who belong to risk group 1 and are regularly in contact with Soite. This, however, was found to be a slow course of action as every third or fourth person did not answer even on the third try.
Residents in Soite’s area are, however, also in some degree contacted by phone. For example, 16–17-year-old persons who belong to risk group 1 are contacted by Soite’s unit for children and young people in order to arrange a vaccination appointment. This is possible as the group is very small.
Furthermore, starting week 10 we will call all persons over the age of 80 who have not yet been vaccinated.
Why cannot all residents be called at least in the smallest municipalities in Soite’s area?
The appointment booking for coronavirus vaccinations is arranged in an equal manner in the whole of Soite.
Why are vaccinations arranged only at a few vaccination sites? Could not vaccinations be arranged on Soite’s premises in smaller municipalities alongside other work?
Storing, transporting and preparing the vaccines is carefully regulated. Preparing the deep-frozen vaccine (Pfizer) for use requires a certain chain of measures in order to keep the vaccine effective. Soite does not want to compromise any vaccine doses. This is why the vaccinations have been concentrated to a few vaccination sites.
Why does it seem like other municipalities begin vaccinating younger age groups sooner than Soite?
In Soite, we strive to vaccinate the age group whose turn it is to be vaccinated as extensively as possible before we move to the next age group. Appointments for vaccinations are given for the current or the following week and we do not open appointment booking e.g. a month beforehand. In other words, we always vaccinate the age group whose turn it is to be vaccinated. The vaccination coverage gives a more accurate picture of how the vaccinations are progressing than the opening of appointment booking. We recommend following Soite’s vaccination indicator to see how the vaccinations are progressing.
I am not certain if I dare to get vaccinated when it is my turn. Is it safe?
The authorities for medicinal products only grant a marketing authorisation to a vaccine that has been scientifically demonstrated to be both effective and safe. The authorities continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine even after it is on the market.
Coronavirus vaccines are evaluated on the same quality, safety and efficacy criteria as other medicines. Even though a COVID-19 vaccine has come quickly out onto the market, it has undergone the same phases of research as other vaccines. The vaccine can be trusted.
Vaccine trials concerning the newly introduced COVID-19 vaccines have involved tens of thousands of voluntary subjects, both in Europe and elsewhere around the world.
All vaccines can have adverse effects. Most adverse effects of vaccines are mild and transient, such as redness at the injection site, fever, muscle pain and headache. It is, however, safe to get vaccinated.
How do I book an appointment for the second vaccination dose?
The appointment booking only applies to the first dose of vaccine. The appointment regarding the booster dose is booked at the vaccination site during the first appointment. An appointment for the second vaccination has been given in connection with the first vaccination.
How do I change the appointment for the second vaccination dose?
If an insurmountable obstacle occurs and the second vaccination appointment must be changed, please contact the secretary at Soite’s vaccination central, phone 040 804 2821 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.