A public health nurse giving a vaccination to a person to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations of 85-year-olds and their informal carers begin

Helsinki has now begun the process of vaccinating persons who will turn 85 this year or are already older, as well as their informal carers. More than 4,000 vaccination appointments have been booked. There are roughly 14,000 Helsinki residents aged 85 and above. Some 3,000 of them have already been vaccinated, mostly during the vaccination of care home and sheltered housing residents.

Helsinki has administered all vaccines without delay as more doses have become available. This week, Helsinki will be receiving about 6,000 vaccine doses. Most of them will be used as booster shots. Roughly 2,500 vaccines are available for vaccinating elderly persons during this week. The vaccination appointments for the week are already fully booked, but appointments for the following weeks can be made.

Slightly more than half of Helsinki’s health care workers who engage in coronavirus-related work have received the first vaccine dose. The process of vaccinating the personnel of care services of the elderly, home care and home hospitals is also under way. All the elderly 24-hours care residents who have wanted to get vaccinated have been administered the first vaccine dose. At the end of last week, the vaccine was offered to a few hundred persons aged 85 and above through home care services and at vaccination points arranged by the City.

Persons between the ages of 80 and 84 and their informal carers are next in line to receive the vaccine. According to the current estimate, they will be invited to get vaccinated in week 7, if the AstraZeneca vaccines are deemed suitable for elderly people on a national level. The exact quantity of vaccine doses that will be available is not yet known. Persons between the ages of 80 and 84 will be informed separately when they can book a vaccination appointment.

Some calls to the appointment booking service are yet to be returned

As expected, calling the appointment booking service has been the most popular method for making an appointment among elderly people whose turn it is to get vaccinated. The appointment booking service uses a call-back arrangement, meaning that all unanswered calls are returned. Over the weekend, the booking service has worked through its backlog of return calls. About a thousand return calls are yet to be made.

“The call-back delay is unfortunate, but all calls to the appointment booking service will be returned and all eligible callers will be offered a vaccination appointment. We apologise for the fact that some may have to wait for the return call for up to five days. The sufficient capacity of the appointment booking service is important, and we will secure it in cooperation with our partner who manages the telephone service,” says Director of Health and Substance Abuse Services Leena Turpeinen.

Currently, the appointment booking service is also getting calls from persons who are not yet scheduled for vaccination. “All of us are obviously anxious to receive the vaccine, but it is important to be patient if it is not yet your turn to get vaccinated. We will inform local residents through a wide range of channels when it comes time to schedule new groups for vaccination. All persons aged 70 and above have received a notification to their home address about their turn to get vaccinated,” Turpeinen adds.

Helsinki has made preparations for extensive vaccinations

At the moment, Helsinki is prepared to administer vaccines to 30,000 people a week. Approximately 4,000–6,000 vaccines per week have been received, most of which have been used as booster vaccines. Helsinki initiated the vaccination process on 28.12. immediately when vaccines became available.

Further information is available at coronavaccination-en.hel.fi

Picture: The city of Helsinki's Social Services and Health Care Division