The influenza vaccine provides protection against influenza and its related secondary diseases. It does not provide protection against common colds. The protection provided by the influenza vaccine lasts for around one year.
In Finland, influenza vaccinations are part of the national vaccination programme. Within this program, the influenza vaccination is provided free of charge to individuals for whom influenza poses a significant threat or whose health would otherwise benefit significantly from receiving the vaccination. The national vaccination expert group (KRAR) issues recommendations, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare then selects each year the vaccines to be used and the target groups for the vaccinations.
Those entitled to free vaccination receive the vaccination from their own health centre. The health centres provide information on the times and locations for receiving vaccinations. Some employers also provide their employees with influenza vaccinations as part of their occupational health care. If you are not entitled to a free influenza vaccine, you can also buy the vaccine yourself on prescription from a pharmacy and then visit your health centre to have the vaccine injected. Influenza vaccines can also be obtained from private health clinics.
Vaxigrip Tetra is the commercial name of the influenza vaccine that THL has designated to be used for all those aged over six months for the period 2020–2021. An alternative vaccine that may be used as part of the national vaccination programme with children aged between 24 months and six years is the Fluenz Tetra vaccine, which is administered as a nasal spray. Both of these are quadrivalent influenza vaccines produced in chicken eggs. More details on the vaccine are available in the package leaflet, which can be found in the FimeaWeb service.
The virus strains used in the vaccines each year are determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The strains used in the injectable influenza vaccines for the 2020–2021 influenza season are:
Vaccines produced in chicken eggs:
A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09 -like virus strain
A/Switzerland/2671/2019 (H3N2) -like virus strain
B/Washington/02/2019 -like virus strain (Victoria branch)
B/Phuket/3073/2013 -like virus strain (Yamagata branch)
Recombinant vaccines and vaccines produced in cells:
A/Hawaii/70/2019 (H1N1)pdm09 -like virus strain
A/Hong Kong/45/2019 (H3N2) -like virus strain
B/Washington/02/2019 –like virus (Victoria branch)
B/Phuket/3073/2013 –like virus (Yamagata branch)
For trivalent vaccines, the WHO recommends the use of the following vaccines from those listed above: A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H3N2) and B/Victoria branch viruses.
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 THL website. For the best coverage of the worldwide situation, please visit the WHO website.
Individuals can receive advice and answers to their own health-related questions from health centres, maternal-child health centres, occupational health care or private health clinics.