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Coronavirus: Instructions for protecting yourself against the virus and treating the disease

This page has been published to support guidance in Swahili and Tigrinya. The content corresponds to the pages published in Swahili and Tigrinya. If you are looking for information in Finnish or English, we recommend that you check the current guidelines on THL's and your municipality's website.

Coronavirus: Instructions for protecting yourself against the virus and treating the disease in Swahili
Coronavirus: Instructions for protecting yourself against the virus and treating the disease in Tigrinya

Vaccine against coronavirus

Effective vaccines have been developed against coronavirus disease.

Getting vaccinated is not compulsory. However, it is worth being vaccinated as it provides good protection, especially against severe coronavirus disease, and reduces the transmission of the virus from one person to another. Only when enough people have been vaccinated will it be possible to return to a more normal daily routine.

Vaccinations are organised by local authorities of the municipalities and towns. Your home municipality will inform you of how and where to get a COVID-19 vaccination. So please follow the website and other communications coming from your home municipality or town. You can ask your family for help in making an appointment, but your home municipality may also offer vaccination without an appointment.

COVID-19 vaccinations are offered in Finland to anyone aged 5 and over who wants to be vaccinated. 

Getting vaccinated against coronavirus disease is free. 

Who is COVID-19 vaccination suitable for?

COVID-19 vaccines are generally well-suited for everyone. 

  • Generally, the vaccination can be taken normally regardless of any disease that a person may have. You can usually take the COVID-19 vaccine even if you are simultaneously on medication.
  • We recommend vaccination for all pregnant women, as pregnancy increases the risk of severe coronavirus disease. Severe disease increases the risk of thrombosis and the likelihood of a premature birth. No safety concerns for pregnant women or developing foetuses have emerged from existing studies and follow-up of people who have been vaccinated. Around the world, many pregnant women have already been vaccinated. 
  • The vaccination can also be given during breastfeeding. No parts of the vaccine pass into breast milk. The baby may also be protected by the mother's vaccination.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain substances of animal origin. It is a so-called halal and kosher product and is also suitable for vegans.

You can ask your doctor about the suitability of the vaccine for you.

Are coronavirus vaccines safe?

People may only be given vaccines that are sufficiently effective and safe. Before a vaccine can be introduced, it is tested carefully. Vaccine developers have tested the vaccines in tens of thousands of volunteers.

A vaccine must be granted a marketing authorisation before it can be administered to people. The marketing authorisation is issued by the pharmaceutical authorities. A marketing authorisation is granted if the vaccine is safe and effective enough.

All vaccines may have adverse effects. The effects are usually mild and will pass quickly. Adverse effects may include:

  • redness, swelling or warmth at the injection site,
  • fever,
  • headache or muscle ache.

COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause coronavirus infection because they do not contain live coronaviruses. Like all vaccines, a COVID-19 vaccine can cause a serious allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are very rare and can be treated at all vaccination sites. 

  • Those who have received mRNA vaccines have reported more myocarditis and pericarditis than the population on average. The highest incidence of myocarditis has been found in young men a few days after the second dose of the vaccine. However, inflammations are also rare in young men, and symptoms are usually mild. mRNA vaccines include Biontech-Pfizer's Comirnaty and Moderna's Spikevax.

Coronavirus disease also increases myocarditis.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare publishes up-to-date information about possible adverse reactions to coronavirus vaccines in Finnish, Swedish and English. Click on the link below to find out what information is available about the currently used vaccines. 

The vaccines and coronavirus (in Finnish)

Coronavirus is passed from person to person

The novel coronavirus is primarily transmitted via by droplet transmission when a person who has contracted the virus is coughing, sneezing, speaking or singing, and droplets pass directly to the mucous membranes of a healthy person in close contact. 

Coronavirus can also be transmitted through touch. For example, the virus can be transmitted if an infected person coughs into their hand and touches another person who ends up passing the discharge to the mucous membranes of their mouth or nose.

People with no symptoms of COVID-19 can also spread the virus. 

These instructions help you prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • Keep your distance from other people. 
  • Avoid physical contact with other people. For example, don't shake hands, but think of other ways to say hello. 

Wash your hands, cough into your sleeve

Ensuring good hand hygiene is one way to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water. You should particularly wash your hands whenever you come indoors from the outside, before you start cooking, and after using the toilet.
  • If you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your sleeve. Do not cough or sneeze into your hand.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

Hand washing and coughing (in Finnish)

Wear a mask

If you have any symptoms related to the coronavirus disease or have already been diagnosed with coronavirus, stay at home and avoid encounters with other people. If you cannot avoid contact with other people at home, wear a face mask.

Wear a mask when you are spending time in places where there are other people. Wear a mask when visiting places such as a grocery shop or a pharmacy, or when using public transport. Wearing a mask protects other people against an infection. 

You should wear a mask even if you have already had the coronavirus disease. You may still be infected with the disease and spread it to others.

Wear a mask even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19. We do not know yet how well the vaccine prevents the virus from spreading between people.

How to properly wear a face mask (YouTube video, in Finnish)

Quarantine and isolation 

If you have had a corona test and are waiting for the result, avoid contact with other people.   

If you have been exposed to coronavirus infection, you may be ordered to official quarantine. The official quarantine is not voluntary.  The personnel at your municipality’s or city’s communicable diseases unit will tell you how long you have to quarantine. You cannot reduce the duration of the quarantine by getting tested for coronavirus.

If you contract a severe form of the COVID-19 disease, you may be ordered to official isolation. The personnel at your municipality’s or city’s communicable diseases unit will tell you how long you have to stay in isolation. Because the coronavirus is transmitted from one person to another, you should isolate yourself from other people. You should also try and stay physically distant from people you are living with. If possible, you should stay in a different room from others.

The purpose of quarantine and isolation is to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The decision on quarantine and isolation is made by a physician specialised in infectious diseases. It is important that you follow the instructions given by the infectious disease specialist.

Coronavirus symptoms

Coronavirus can cause a variety of symptoms. Some people may not experience any symptoms. The symptoms are severe for a small share of patients. The symptoms may change during the disease.

Coronavirus symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • loss of smell
  • loss of taste
  • runny nose
  • blocked nose
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • tiredness
  • muscle pain
  • sore throat
  • scratchiness in the throat 
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea

What should I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus disease? 

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, stay at home. If you wish, you may take a home test. Home tests can be bought in shops and pharmacies.

Check the website of your municipality or town for instructions on whether you need to take the test and how to book an appointment.

Testing is free of charge in public health care, such as the COVID-19 testing sites of municipalities or cities. You can also get tested for coronavirus in private health care, such as a private medical centre, in which case the test is subject to a fee.

You can also use the Omaolo online service to assess whether you have coronavirus symptoms. Some municipalities also enable booking an appointment to COVID-19 testing through the Omaolo service. The Omaolo website is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. If possible, ask someone you know to help you use the Omaolo service, for instance, using a remote connection.

Omaolo service (in Finnish)

Remember that it is safe for you to visit a health centre if you do not have any symptoms of coronavirus disease. Do not leave your other diseases untreated.

What should I do if I get sick?

If you have severe symptoms, you may need hospital care. If your symptoms are mild, you can stay home when you are sick. 

Things to remember when you are sick at home:

  • Stay home and avoid other people. If you cannot avoid contact with other people at your home, wear a face mask.
  • Rest and drink a lot of liquids. 
  • If you have a fever, you can take pain medication. For example, ibuprofen and paracetamol will help.
  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Dispose of any tissues that you have coughed into in a waste basket.
  • Do not use the shared facilities of your housing company during your illness.
  • Coronavirus disease exposes people to blood clots. When you have COVID-19, contact a physician if you are otherwise at risk of developing a blood clot.

Coronavirus and tendency for thrombosis (in Finnish)

Monitor your condition. If you start feeling worse, call a health centre. If you have to see a doctor, wear a face mask.

Current restrictions and recommendations

Check the website of the Finnish Government for currently valid restrictions and recommendations issued by the authorities.

Restrictions and recommendations during the coronavirus epidemic (Finnish Government, in Finnish)

Read also

The guidelines and recommendations related to the coronavirus change when we learn more about the virus or the development of the epidemic changes.

See the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website for current information about coronavirus in different languages: 

Every weekday, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare publishes versatile information in Finnish. Current information about coronavirus (in Finnish)

You can ask your health centre, for example a nurse, for more information about the coronavirus.