A major study conducted in Denmark has affirmed that the MMR vaccine does not increase a child’s likelihood of becoming autistic.
There are currently measles epidemics in many European countries where immunization coverage is not sufficiently high. Measles cases have also been observed this winter in Finland; these cases often arrive in Finland as souvenirs from foreign trips.
Influenza cases are steadily multiplying in Finland and are expected to exceed the epidemic threshold during January. The dominant virus types of the seasonal influenza outbreak in the rest of Europe and the USA are two influenza A viruses, and A(H1N1), a descendant of the swine flu, in particular has been widespread. The other subtype of the A virus, A(H3N2), has also been observed.
This year the National Immunisation Programme will use a more comprehensive, quadrivalent influenza vaccine that protects against four types of virus. The Immunisation Programme includes an influenza vaccine administered as a nasal spray vaccine (children aged 2-6) and as an injectable vaccine, which both provide more comprehensive protection than last year’s vaccine.
The European Joint Action on Vaccination project to increase vaccination coverage among the European population was launched in September. Seventeen EU Member States, and Norway, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are participating in the project. The Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is involved in the project in Finland.
The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has conducted a study of HPV vaccine administered to girls in the years 2013–2015. The study investigated whether the vaccine increases the risk of autoimmune disorders. There were approximately 241,000 subjects in all. Approximately half of them, or 56 percent, received the vaccine. HPV vaccine prevents HPV viral infection and the precursors of cervical cancer that it causes.
For the first time, it has been shown that vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) prevent malignant HPV-associated cancers in women. This was the finding of a Finnish-Swedish research team coordinated by the University of Tampere. The finding was based on registry monitoring of Finnish subjects in randomised HPV-vaccinated and control cohorts.
The national vaccination register of Finland shows that influenza vaccination coverage of children below three years of age improved by three percentage points this season. Influenza vaccination coverage for people 65 years of age and older also increased slightly and is currently at 48 per cent.
The tetanus vaccination booster interval has been lengthened from 10 years to 20 years in adults of working age. Tetanus has become very rare in Finland and average anti-tetanus antibody levels in the Finnish population are high.
The national vaccination register’s vaccination coverage report shows that there has been a good vaccination coverage rate throughout Finland for children born in 2015. There are differences depending on the type of vaccine and the region, however.
According to a study of influenza vaccination conducted in Spain, it is advisable for the elderly to get vaccinated at least two times. Just two vaccinations may offer protection against serious illness requiring intensive care.
Free influenza vaccinations began across Finland in November. Getting an influenza vaccination is particularly important for people over 65 years of age, pregnant women and those suffering from chronic illnesses.
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The rotavirus vaccine was added to the National Immunisation Programme in 2009. Since that time, the instances of hospital treatment caused by the rotavirus have decreased by as much as 93% among children under five years of age.
According to the latest human papillomavirus vaccination coverage report by the national vaccination register, 70 per cent of Finnish girls born in 2004, i.e. girls who are 13 years old this year, have received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.
There is a worrying measles epidemic in Europe, with hundreds of new cases reported during the summer. Of the five cases reported in Finland, the most recent one was an adult who had not been vaccinated against measles.
Few adults remember to get their booster vaccines.
Chickenpox vaccinations will begin in September. In the first round, the vaccine will be administered to children from 1.5-year-olds to fifth-graders who have never had chickenpox. Children will be vaccinated in conjunction with their routine check-ups. For school pupils, this will take place in the school nurse’s office, while younger children will receive their vaccinations at child health clinics.
The Hepatitis B vaccine for children in the National Immunisation Programme will change from Engerix-B to HBVAXPRO 5 µg. The vaccine is intended for children under 16 years of age.
The MMR vaccine, which provides immunity against mumps, rubella and measles was added to the National Immunisation Programme in 1982. People who were born in the late 1960s and early 1970s, who are now entering their fifties, are likely to have never received this vaccination.