Influenza vaccinations

Injectable influenza vaccines

The influenza vaccines used in Finland contain components from four strains of viruses. The viruses for the vaccine have been grown in fertilised eggs, then purified, split and inactivated with formaldehyde. More information on the vaccines are available in the package leaflets, which can be found (in Finnish) in the FimeaWeb service.

The vaccines contain only parts of viruses, rather than whole ones. The vaccine will not give you influenza. The seasonal influenza vaccines included in the general vaccination programme contain no preservatives and no adjuvants to enhance the immune response.

The trade name of the injectable influenza vaccine supplied by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) for the season 2018–2019 for all beginning from 6 months of age is Vaxigrip Tetra. This recommendation has been issued by the national vaccine specialist group and THL.

Nasal spray vaccination

As part of the national vaccination programme, children aged 24 months to 6 years may be given the Fluenz Tetra nasal spray instead of the injectable vaccine.

The spray differs from the injection in that it contains live attenuated viruses. The viruses in the vaccine have been weakened so that the vaccine cannot cause the influenza. When a person is given the vaccine, the immune system (the body's natural defence system) will produce its own protection against the influenza virus. The vaccine does not protect against common cold. The seasonal influenza vaccines included in the general vaccination programme contain no preservatives and no adjuvants to enhance the immune response.

Virus strains

The virus strains used in the vaccines are annually determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The virus strains used for season 2018-2019 injectable influenza vaccine Vaxigrip Tetra and nasal spray vaccine Fluenz Tetra are:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2) -like virus
  • B/Colorado/06/2017 -like virus (Victoria lineage)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013 -like virus (Yamagata lineage)

This season, the injectable vaccine contains four virus strains, whereas last season it contained four strains. Since last season, the A virus strain (H3N2) has been replaced in the injectable vaccine. This season the vaccine contains two different B virus strains, whereas last season it contained only one B virus strain. As for the nasal spray vaccine, the A virus strain (H3N2) and B virus strain (Victoria lineage) has been replaced compared to last season’s vaccine.

The vaccine will also protect against the swine influenza.

Prescription vaccinations are available under several different trade names in pharmacies. The virus strains in all of them meet the international recommendations, which are updated annually.

More information about influenza, vaccinations and the recommendations included in the national vaccination programme is available on the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) website.  For the best coverage of the worldwide situation, please visit the WHO website.

Private persons should contact a local health-care center or private medical clinic for questions regarding their health issues.

Further information

  • Kallio Antero
    Senior Medical Officer tel. +358295223446