Finland to provide bird flu vaccinations to all workers exposed to animals

Finland is set to become the first country in the world to offer avian influenza virus vaccinations to workers exposed to animals.

According to several reports, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) announced on June 25 that the government bought avian influenza vaccines for 10,000 people, each consisting of two injections from CSL Seqirus, an Australian manufacturer with the broadest influenza vaccine portfolio in the world, as part of a joint procurement with the European Union in which the bloc will distribute up to 40 million doses for 15 member states.

"The vaccine will be offered to those aged 18 or over who are at increased risk of contracting avian influenza due to their work or other circumstances," the THL said.

Beginning on June 30, the THL is expected to administer the vaccines to workers exposed to animals, including fur farm workers and laboratory technicians handling bird flu samples. Should any human infections be confirmed, the vaccine will also be offered to individuals in close contact with the infected patients.

Finland is set to administer bird flu vaccinations even without any reported human cases

Finland has yet to report any human cases of avian influenza. And yet, the Finnish government is already taking proactive measures to "curb" the potential virus transmission.

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, has long affected bird populations but has recently been detected in other species. For instance, in 2023, Finland's fur farms, which operate in an open-air environment, experienced significant bird flu outbreaks among mink and foxes. This, in turn, resulted in the culling of approximately 485,000 animals to mitigate the transmission risk.

"The conditions in Finland are very different in that we have fur farms where the animals can end up in contact with wildlife," said Hanna Nohynek, a chief physician at the THL.

Robert Johnson, the director of the United States' Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Medical Countermeasures Program, said that both the ASPR and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that H5N1 currently poses a low public health risk.

There are three confirmed human infections this year in the U.S., with no evidence yet of person-to-person transmission. The government has yet to establish concrete plans for vaccinating farm workers or other high-risk groups.

"Further sort of deliberations or decisions around vaccine really will require further conversations around the U.S. government," said Demetre Daskalakis, a CDC official.

But instead of calling out Finland for immediately taking proactive measures to "curb" the potential virus transmission, U.S. officials claimed that vaccines "could be deployed before an outbreak begins."

Follow for more stories about bird flu.

Watch the May 6 episode of "The Robert Scott Bell Show" below. "The Robert Scott Bell Show" airs every Monday at 4-5 p.m. on Brighteon.TV.

(Article by Ethan Huff republished from )

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