The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started the rolling review procedure on two coronavirus vaccine candidates. A rolling review is a tool that can be used to speed up the marketing authorisation process of promising vaccines during a pandemic, for example.
The coronavirus situation has reduced visits to maternity and child health clinics. When the coronavirus-related restrictions came into force, staff in many municipalities were transferred from preventive services for children and families to other tasks. The provision of maternity and child health clinic services was limited to pregnant women and infants.
At the beginning of April, maternity clinic visits had fallen by 27 per cent and child health clinic visits had fallen by 45 per cent from the corresponding period of the previous year.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has approved the inclusion of the HPV vaccine for boys into the National Immunisation Programme. Thus, HPV vaccinations will be given to the entire age group from now on. Vaccinations for boys could begin in August 2020.
According to the Immunisation Programme, HPV vaccinations would start in the 5th grade of comprehensive school, i.e. the recommended target group is 11–12-year-olds. Booster vaccinations should also be offered to boys in grades 7–9 during the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 school years.
World Immunization Week – celebrated in the last week of April (24 to 30 April) – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million children in the world today who are not getting the vaccines they need.
Tick-borne encephalitis is a brain inflammation caused by the TBE virus that is transmitted through a tick bite. It can cause fever, vague nausea and a feeling of sickness for about a week, after which less than a third of affected people get the actual brain inflammation after a week without fever. Treatment of brain inflammation may require hospitalisation and may cause long-term neurological complications.
Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements in medicine. Anu Kantele, Professor of Infectious Diseases at MeVac, the Meilahti Vaccine Research Center of Helsinki University Hospital tells about vaccine development.
Finding out which vaccinations you need a couple of months before you travel is an important part of preparing for your trip. Every traveller should ensure that their vaccinations in the National Immunisation Programme are up to date. The need for other vaccinations depends on the age and state of health of the traveller as well as the destination, duration and nature of the trip. For example, the influenza vaccination is recommended for people in risk groups, and some countries require visitors to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival.
According to information in the national vaccination register, almost all school-aged children are protected against chickenpox, but there is still room for improvement in the vaccinations of the youngest children. Almost one in five 1.5-year-olds had not been vaccinated over the years 2017-2019.
Chickenpox (also known as varicella) is highly contagious and without the vaccination almost everyone will get the disease. The most typical symptoms are blisters and fever lasting approximately 5 to 7 days.
The influenza epidemic has not yet begun in Finland, but some individual influenza A and B cases have been reported to the National Infectious Diseases Register.
HPV, or human papilloma virus, causes several cancers. It causes infections on the skin and the genitals, and some of the symptomless genital HPV infections develop into cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and anus. HPV can also cause cancers in the head and neck area.
The HPV vaccine helps to prevent cervical cancer and its precancerous conditions. In addition, it can prevent some cancers of the vagina and vulva, of the head and neck area and the anus. The vaccination is most effective when it is given before the individual is sexually active.
Hepatitis, or liver infection, is the biggest killer after tuberculosis and nine times more prevalent than HIV. Hepatitis A and B are preventable with immunisation.
According to the National Infectious Diseases Register maintained by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), 16 cases of measles were diagnosed in Finland in 2018. In the previous year, 11 cases were reported.
Ticks appear in the spring when the temperature permanently rises above zero. In Finland, ticks are found across the country, excluding the northernmost part of Lapland. Their numbers are highest in coastal areas and the archipelago. Click here to see a distribution map.
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.