Influenza is a disease that can take many forms, and sometimes it comes with no symptoms at all. At its worst, it can put a previously healthy person in intensive care and even lead to death. Approximately half a million people contract influenza in Finland each year.
Taneli Puumalainen, Head of the Department of Vaccines and Immune Protection at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, says that influenza poses a significant disease burden to Finland. About 23,000 people seek specialised health care due to influenza, and it is estimated that a thousand people die of influenza in Finland each year.
Influenza is particularly dangerous to people who have an underlying illness as well as to young children, pregnant women and the elderly. Puumalainen recommends that healthy individuals should also get the influenza vaccine, especially if they are planning a winter holiday trip.
Puumalainen compares the influenza vaccine to an insurance policy for a successful winter holiday trip, as the epidemic infects about 10 per cent of the population.
- YLE (in Finnish)