Vaccines against Covidia and other diseases are offered to those arriving in Ukraine

Finland has reserved covid-19 vaccines for asylum seekers arriving from Ukraine, he says Mia KontioChief Expert of the Department of Health and Welfare (THL).

Those who move to Finland also receive other vaccines included in the national vaccination program, he explains.

"Of course. Under normal circumstances, asylum seekers are entitled to receive vaccines under the national program, and the same applies to those arriving from Ukraine." Kontio says.

The rate of Covid vaccination in Ukraine is low. About 35 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated (with two doses), and only 1.7 percent have received a booster vaccine.

By Tedros Adhanom GhebreyesusWHO Director-General, the number of new cases of coronavirus in Ukraine increased before the conflict.

"A low level of testing after the start of a conflict means that there is likely to be a significant undetected transfer," Ghebreyesus said in a tweet on March 2, adding that this, combined with low vaccination coverage, increases people’s risk of developing a serious coronavirus infection.

Since the start of the war, at least 35 hospitals in Ukraine have been damaged by Russian attacks. The country has already reported a lack of supplemental oxygen needed to treat Covid-19 patients in critical conditions.

In addition, the conflict has led to people living close to each other and not getting enough clean water and food, and there is a shortage of medicines, all of which increase the risk of infectious diseases.

More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have already fled the country, so health experts have expressed concern about the worsening coronavirus situation in Ukraine as well as in neighboring countries such as Poland, Moldova and Hungary, where vaccination coverage is also relatively low.

EU and WHO health authorities have recommended that asylum seekers from Ukraine be vaccinated in host countries. In addition, residents of recipient countries are encouraged to receive vaccinations against the Covid virus.

Polio, tuberculosis is also a concern

The war has halted Ukraine’s health care initiatives aimed at preventing disease, including a polio vaccination program.

Due to the slowdown in vaccination rates caused by the coronavirus crisis, the disease reappeared in Ukraine last year. The country had reported more than 20 cases of polio since last October.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health approved a national plan to curb the polio epidemic in December, but vaccination was suspended only weeks after Russia attacked in February.

At least 100,000 babies in the country have not yet been vaccinated against an infectious disease.

Ukrainian refugees may also face the health threat posed by tuberculosis (TB). There are 20,000 cases of tuberculosis in the country each year, and an estimated 10,000 undiagnosed cases.

Overcrowding in camps and inadequate access to water and sanitation also increase the risk of tuberculosis among people fleeing war.

The disease is relatively rare in Finland, and only a few hundred cases are reported in the country each year. The tuberculosis vaccine is no longer offered in Finland’s national vaccination program; Since 2006, only neonates at risk have been vaccinated against the disease.

Municipalities are responsible for supplying vaccines

According to Kontio, the Finnish health authorities assess the need to vaccinate Ukrainian asylum seekers against tuberculosis on a case-by-case basis, and the responsibility for organizing vaccines lies primarily with municipal health centers.

People staying in the reception centers of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) are automatically subject to health checks, but the situation is different for those who have received a second home.

"This is made more difficult if individuals or their carers do not know which vaccines are part of the vaccination program and whether or not they need them. In such cases, people should contact the municipalities and seek advice from health centers," he says.

Kontio states that vaccination rates in Ukraine are relatively good compared to other recommended vaccines. For example, more than 90 percent of the population has received the MMR vaccine, which provides protection against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Kontio also confirms that Finland has a sufficient stock of vaccines for those entering the country.

"There are enough vaccines, which means we can vaccinate those who come to Finland. That is why it is important for them to register in Migri when they arrive in Finland. This would allow centralized and easier access to health services," he adds.

Source: The Nordic Page


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