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Finland to Offer Bird Flu Vaccine Despite Lack of Safety Testing and Human Infections

Finland plans to vaccinate 10,000 “high-risk” individuals against the H5N8 strain of bird flu. Critics warn of potential dangers from the untested vaccine and question the necessity given the absence of human infections in the country.

Finland is set to become the first country in the world to offer bird flu vaccinations to humans, sparking a heated debate about vaccine safety and necessity.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos or THL) announced plans to begin administering H5N8 bird flu vaccines to select groups as early as next week, despite the absence of human infections in the country.

The unprecedented move comes as global health experts express conflicting views on the threat posed by avian influenza. While Finnish officials cite the need for preemptive protection, critics argue the vaccination program is premature and potentially dangerous.

The Finnish announcement comes just two weeks after the European Commission Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (HERA) program announced the purchase of 665,000 doses of CSL Seqirus’ H5N8 avian influenza vaccine, with an option to acquire another 40 million doses over the next four years. HERA has already obtained 111 million doses of GSK’s bird flu vaccine.

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