Fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions about the coro­n­avirus vaccinations

Has been updat­ed on the 23rd of August 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, basi­cal­ly healthy 12–65-year-old per­sons are vac­ci­nat­ed with mRNA vac­cines (Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comir­naty or Moderna’s vac­cine). More infor­ma­tion on coro­n­avirus vac­cines and answers to fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions can be found on THL’s web­site.

Per­sons over the age of 65 are vac­ci­nat­ed in accor­dance with instruc­tions from The Finnish Insti­tute for Health and Wel­fare THL. The Finnish Insti­tute for Health and Wel­fare THL 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 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. 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 always 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:

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 Mon­day, Wednes­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day between 8 am and 15 pm and Tues­day between 8 am and 12 noon.

Must a per­son who has been vac­ci­nat­ed go to a coro­n­avirus test?

Yes, espe­cial­ly if you have symp­toms that fit the coro­n­avirus or have been exposed to the coro­n­avirus. The coro­n­avirus vac­cines pre­vent viral infec­tions, excre­tion of the virus and trans­mis­sion from one per­son to anoth­er well, but a coro­n­avirus vac­ci­na­tion does not com­plete­ly elim­i­nate the risk of an infec­tion and the risk of trans­mit­ting it to oth­er peo­ple. In oth­er words, even if you have been vac­ci­nat­ed, you may infect oth­ers. The coro­n­avirus vac­cines offer pro­tec­tion espe­cial­ly against the severe forms of the coro­n­avirus dis­ease. The symp­toms are milder in per­sons who have been vac­ci­nat­ed and the trans­mit the virus in a less­er degree. More infor­ma­tion on THL’s web­site: Effi­ca­cy of vac­cines against COVID-19.

Infor­ma­tion about the coro­n­avirus vaccine

The Finnish Med­i­cines Agency Fimea and the Finnish Insti­tute for Health and wel­fare THL mon­i­tor the adverse effects and the safe­ty of the COVID-19 vac­cines care­ful­ly — no sur­pris­ing adverse effects have come to light  (THL, in Finnish)

Ques­tions and answers about the coro­n­avirus vac­cine (Finnish Insti­tute for Health and Wel­fare THL)

Ques­tions and answers about the coro­n­avirus vac­cine (The Finnish Med­i­cines Agency Fimea

Coro­n­avirus vac­cines in Fin­land (the Min­istry of Social Affairs and health)

Infor­ma­tion about the coro­n­avirus vac­cine (ECDC)


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