The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has recommended that a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine be provided to vulnerable and at-risk groups.
Although the final decision rests with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Health Agency recommended that a third dose be given to all those over 12 years of age who have a weakened immune system due to the underlying diseases.
"In this group, a third dose would raise antibody levels and provide the same level of protection, or at least close to the same levels as in now healthy people," THL expert Mia Kontio said Thursday morning at a weekly coronavirus event.
The possibility of offering a third dose to the rest of the population will be considered during the fall, the health agency added.
Booster doses for health care staff and nursing home residents
The THL has further proposed that the third dose be given as an booster to those who received the second dose in early 2021, weeks 3-4 of the national vaccination program.
This group includes health care workers who work with Covid patients, as well as the elderly in nursing homes and their carers.
"We propose to strengthen the basic vaccination series for this group because they have been given two doses in a shorter period of time compared to the others; the second dose of vaccine has long since passed and the effect of vaccination is gradually worsening," Chief Physician of THL Hanna Nohynek said in a press release.
"The protection of front-line healthcare workers is important for the protection of both their own health and the carrying capacity of hospitals, while people living in care homes for the elderly are particularly vulnerable to serious coronavirus infections," Nohynek added.
THL: Up to 100,000 can initially get effects
According to Kontio, a group of 50,000-100,000 people would initially be eligible for the third dose.
"If we get enough vaccine, we believe the third dose could be given to the whole group at the same time," Kontio said in a THL press release, but added it nonetheless "at the same time, it is important to ensure that the first and second doses are not delayed due to the third dose."
The agency said it will issue a definition in the coming weeks explaining who belongs to the immunocompromised group.
A single dose is sufficient for those recovering from Covid
Based on new research data collected both in Finland and abroad, THL has also recommended that patients with a previous PCR-confirmed infection be given only one dose of vaccine instead of two.
The Health Agency confirmed that recent studies have shown that a single dose of the vaccine provides at least as good protection for those who have recovered from a Covid infection as giving two doses to people who do not have the virus.
The agency added that municipalities may, at their discretion, reduce the time between the first and second squeezing dose from eight to six weeks, especially given the additional pressure from the Delta variant, according to Nohynek.
However, he said THL does not recommend an interval of less than six weeks as it would significantly weaken the immune response produced by the vaccine.
Source: The Nordic Page