Cases of measles have increased in the European countries in which vaccination coverage has fallen below the critical level of 95 per cent. The highest numbers of new infections are in Italy and Romania.
The vaccination coverage in Finland remains mostly at a good level, but it is already too low in certain regions. According to Hämeenlinna-based maternity and child health clinic physician Anu Mähönen, vaccine skepticism has increased slightly.
Measles was eradicated from Finland in the 1990s thanks to good vaccination coverage, but the disease has returned during the past decade.
The number of whooping cough cases has doubled in Finland over the past year. The National Institute for Health and Welfare’s register of infectious diseases (in Finnish) shows that there were 386 confirmed cases by December 2016, compared to only 165 the previous year.
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.
The target group for Hepatitis B vaccination will be expanded from November onwards to include three new groups of children as well as men who have sex with men. The Hepatitis B vaccine prevents serious viral hepatitis.
A new study on the HPV immunisation programme uses mathematical modelling to estimate that vaccinating only girls can prevent nearly all infections caused by the human papillomaviruses HPV16 and HPV18.
The Vaccination Competence Training Module introduced in autumn 2015 has received wide praise from public health nurse, registered general nurse and midwife students.
The Ministry of Finance has proposed that the chickenpox vaccine be included in the National Immunisation Programme. The vaccine’s inclusion in the programme has been suggested for several years by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the national vaccination expert group.
Whooping cough is a serious illness that can be life-threatening to infants. A decline in vaccination coverage and the adaptation of the bacteria that cause whooping cough have seen the number of cases increase in recent years, even in the developed world. The situation in Finland remains good compared to other European countries thanks to the active administration of booster shots.
Experts have long been unanimous in saying that the chickenpox vaccine should be included in the universal immunisation schedule in Finland. One of the proponents of the vaccine is Professor Timo Vesikari, Director of the Vaccine Research Centre at the University of Tampere.
The dosing of the papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), which prevents cervical cancer, under the National Immunisation Programme will change from a three-dose vaccination protocol to a two-dose protocol in August 2016.
More than 70 per cent of girls born in 2002 have now received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. According to a new report published by the national vaccination register, the HPV vaccination coverage now exceeds 70 per cent in Finland for the first time.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing global problem. A UK-based expert group investigating the problem has suggested that vaccination is one way to prevent antibiotic resistance.
Practically everyone gets chickenpox. The clinical picture varies from mild symptoms to complicated and potentially life-threatening illness. Experts say the vaccine would eradicate chickenpox from Finland in a couple of years. The chickenpox vaccine has been used in parts of the world since the 1990s and it has proved to be safe for the subject.
According to a survey conducted in Espoo and Oulu, the mothers of families with a lower level of education and income are more critical towards the HPV vaccine than the mothers of families with a higher socioeconomic status.
The influenza epidemic is underway throughout Finland. The samples taken from patients indicate that the types of viruses making the rounds are very similar to those in the vaccine (AH1N1pdm09, AH3N2 and the B virus), which means that the seasonal influenza vaccine provides good protection against infection.
More than a million Finns are eligible for a free influenza vaccine. The vaccine is free of charge for young children, people aged 65 and up, people suffering from long-term illnesses and pregnant women. Influenza may pose a danger to these groups.
Students who are at risk of infection during practical training will receive the Hepatitis B vaccine as part of the National Immunisation Programme starting from August 2015.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is still found in many EU countries where vaccination coverage is low. Outbreaks have been reported this year in several schools in Berlin, Germany.
In the United States, more than 100 people have contracted measles in several states by early February 2015. Cases have also been found in Canada and Mexico. The Philippines saw a major measles outbreak in 2014, caused by the same type as the virus found in California.