Finland News Round-Up no. 1
THL Recommends Suspension of Short-term International Student Exchanges
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare recommended on 3 February 2021 that educational short-term student exchanges lasting less than a semester be suspended immediately. The announcement comes in response to high levels of transmission among student populations in Jyväskylä and Helsinki.
However, student exchanges lasting one semester or longer may still take place, as long as THL’s coronavirus safety guidelines are heeded.
11 Vaccine-Related Deaths in Finland (MTV)
The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) announced that 11 people with pre-existing medical conditions have died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Finland. However, only 0.15 percent of 150,000 vaccinated Finns have reported side effects.
Helsinki Coronavirus Infection Cluster Among Exchange Students (City of Helsinki)
The City of Helsinki Reported on Thursday that a cluster of at least 25 coronavirus infections has been traced to exchange students who gathered in Helsinki restaurants.
Helsingin Sanomat Readers Weigh in on the Debate Over Municipal Election Timeline
Former YLE election commentator Tarmo Ropponen’s concerns regarding the safety of holding the municipal election on April 18 as planned were published in Helsingin Sanomat. Ropponen’s concerns included the sanitation of election machines, the impact of coronavirus restrictions on voter turnout, and the possibility that some parties might benefit more than others from the switch to online campaigning.
Helsingin Sanomat also published a rebuttal, written by Asko Padinki in Vantaa. Arguing that the postponement of the municipal election is not necessary, Padinki cited US data that showed an increase in advance voter turnout and no significant increase in coronavirus transmission during the 2020 general election.
AstraZeneca Vaccine Arrives in Finland
In addition to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines already being used in Finland, 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine arrived in the country on Sunday. The vaccine is currently recommended only for the working-age population, and 175,000 additional doses are expected to arrive later this month.