Vaccinations for children and young people
COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended for young people aged 12 and older, since vaccinations protect the young people themselves and their families and friends, especially against severe forms of the coronavirus disease Since vaccinations prevent a large portion of infections, they also help reduce the need for restrictions on children and young people.
Although the number of cases of children requiring hospitalisation is low, the restrictions on gatherings, activities, school and studies due to the pandemic greatly impact the lives of children and young people.
Even children and young people may suffer from ‘long COVID,’ a condition where the symptoms are prolonged. However, there is still little research data available on this subject. Furthermore, a severe systemic inflammatory response has been recorded as a rare secondary disease of COVID-19 for children and young people.
The WHO has also determined that the vaccines are suitable for those aged 12 and above.
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary and free of charge.
Receiving the vaccine
Persons aged over 12 can receive the vaccine at the vaccination points of Jätkäsaari, Kannelmäki, Malmi and Myllypuro or at pop-up vaccination points. You can book a vaccination appointment in advance or walk in without an appointment.
If a young person has received the first dose in another municipality, they can also receive the second dose in Helsinki. You can get the second dose without an appointment. Other people from outside Helsinki, such as international students, can also receive their vaccinations in Helsinki (either the full vaccination series or the second dose).
Students in upper secondary schools and vocational institutes can receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Helsinki mainly in their own schools. The vaccination is provided at schools to everyone, regardless of their municipality of residence.
Vaccinations will start at different times in different educational institutions, and the times will be announced via the Wilma system. You do not need to make an appointment for a vaccination at the institutions.
Underage persons may decide on whether or not to take the COVID-19 vaccine if a health care professional deems them capable of making the decision, based on age and developmental level. This assessment is made at the vaccination point. In the event that a young person cannot decide on the vaccination, written consent from both parents/guardians is required for the vaccination decision. Consent is given using the following PDF form: Parents or guardians’ consent to a coronavirus vaccine
You can book a vaccination appointment at bookcovidvaccine.fi or by calling the service number, tel. 09 310 46300 (Mon–Fri at 8:00–18:00).
The mRNA vaccines used for children and young people include the Comirnaty vaccine by BioNTech-Pfizer and the Spikevax vaccine by Moderna.
The mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are based on technology that has been being developed since the 1990s. The mRNA vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA), which prompts the muscle cells at the injection spot to produce the active substance of the vaccine.
The mRNA vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA), which prompts the muscle cells at the injection spot to produce an active substance, in this case, a surface protein of the coronavirus.
The body’s immune system identifies this spike protein as foreign and starts producing an antibody to fight it. This way, your body learns to fight the coronavirus proper if it enters your body.
Read more: mRNA vaccines: FAQ
Efficacy of the vaccines
The COVID-19 vaccination offers protection against the coronavirus disease and in particular its severe variations. There is little difference in the efficacy of the vaccines being used in Finland. The protection provided by the full vaccination series is excellent against severe forms of the disease.
The COVID-19 vaccines also prevent the viral infection, the secretion of the virus, and the virus spreading from one person to another. Therefore, it is commonly believed that the COVID-19 vaccines can also contribute to the creation of ‘indirect protection.’
However, the COVID-19 vaccines do not completely eliminate the risk of infection and transmission of the disease. Therefore, it is important that even those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination also maintain physical distances, wear a mask, wash their hands, and follow other guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
Read more: Efficacy of vaccines against COVID-19
Safety of the vaccines
The pharmaceutical authorities only grant sales permits to vaccines for which the efficacy and safety have been proven through research. The COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated based on the same criteria for quality, safety and efficacy as other medications.
Even though the research and sales permit process for the COVID-19 vaccines have been accelerated, the vaccines go through the same research stages as any other vaccines.
The safety and efficacy of BioNTech-Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines were also tested for 12–15-year-olds before the conditional sales permit was granted.
- In these tests, the effect of the vaccines against the symptoms of infection has proven excellent for young people.
- In the research done prior to the granting of the sales permit, the adverse reactions observed were the same for young people as for young adults. The adverse reactions observed were mild and temporary, such as fever, headache and soreness of the injection spot.
- As an extremely rare adverse reaction to the mRNA vaccine, myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed among those who received the vaccine. These have mostly been experienced by young men after the second vaccine dose. Usually, the symptoms have been mild and those who developed the symptoms have recovered well. According to preliminary results, there have been 3.2 cases per 100,000 vaccinated persons among boys and men aged 12 to 17 in the United States.
The safety of the COVID-19 vaccines continues to be observed both in Finland and globally even now that the vaccinations have started. In the United States, Canada and many European countries, millions of young people aged 12–15 have already been vaccinated with mRNA vaccines. As a rule, the majority of adverse reactions to vaccines occur within six weeks of vaccination.
For the COVID-19 vaccines, the monitoring period is shorter than for vaccines on average. To extend the sales permit, the sales permit holders of COVID-19 vaccines, i.e. pharmaceutical companies, must regularly provide the authorities with more efficacy and safety data.
Read more: Safety of COVID-19 vaccines
- National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL):
- Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Coronavirus and vaccine candidates
- Fimea: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- City of Helsinki: coronavaccination-en.hel.fi
You can read more about disinformation regarding health and medication in an article by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: Look for these signs to identify false information online