According to the Confederation of Finnish Industries’ best-case scenario, it is possible that 80% of Finns will already be vaccinated by July, whereas according to the most pessimistic scenario, 80% vaccination coverage will not be achieved until September. According to EK, the three-month difference between the scenarios would have a GDP impact of at least EUR 2 billion.
The scenario work carried out by the Restart working group takes into account both the challenges in the production of vaccinations and the schedule changes in the vaccination approval process.
“The restarting of economic growth will only succeed if the vaccination programme is successful. This will require strong nationwide steering of the vaccination process and the involvement of occupational health care,” says Jyri Häkämies, Director General of EK.
According to Häkämies, in addition to improving the efficiency of the vaccination process, we should already be looking ahead to the time when restrictions will be eased.
“If we are to be ready on time, we must start the planning for the easing of restrictions and the necessary support measures now. When the vaccination coverage improves, restrictions must be lifted gradually so that we can get back on a growth course,” Häkämies says.
“In the best-case scenario, we would be able to achieve the vaccination coverage as much as three months faster than in the most pessimistic scenario. This would have a GDP impact of at least EUR 2 billion. We need to make a concerted effort to achieve this substantial target,” Häkämies concludes.
EK’s Restart working group proposes the following measures to ensure economic growth:
Implementation of vaccination:
- Occupational health care must be systematically involved in the vaccination of the working-age population throughout the country. This is the only way to ensure that critical sectors and employees are vaccinated in a functional order.
- Compensation issues related to the use of occupational health care must be resolved.
- The distribution of vaccines to occupational health care must be implemented on a centralised basis for the whole of Finland. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health/Finnish institute for health and welfare THL must ensure that distribution is carried out in an efficient and consistent way throughout the country.
- All those qualified to provide vaccinations are needed to administer the vaccinations.
- A digital vaccination certificate is required urgently. Companies need to be able to travel (sales, maintenance, other cooperation) and the service and travel window of summer 2021 must be utilised. Companies to be enlisted to help the Social Insurance Institution of Finland KELA and THL in order to speed up the development. Simultaneous pilot projects for international use to be launched immediately (e.g. bank/credit card system, QR code, mobile phone app). The EU and WHO are too slow.
Lifting of restrictions:
Updating Finland’s coronavirus management strategy
- Development of vaccination coverage must be taken into account in the criteria of the coronavirus management strategy and linked to the lifting of restrictions.
- Better predictability must be achieved for the application of the model.
Entry restrictions and test and enter model
- Vaccination certificate must enable travel without quarantine and testing if medical evidence supports this.
- A joint reciprocal European travel management model must be created before the disease is under control through improved vaccination cover and restrictions can be eased.
Financial support for businesses:
- The general business outlook has improved from the autumn, but there are still substantial differences between sectors. Many viable companies are still in urgent need of financial support.
- The need for recovery- and rebuilding-stage support must be assessed, and the approval criteria and handling process must be determined in a realistic and fair manner. The continuation of support and acceptable approval criteria must be ensured.
- Finland has exercised a moderate support policy, and last year’s subsidies in relation to GDP are substantially lower than in the main EU comparison countries. It is important that normal rules governing state aid at the EU level are restored as soon as possible.
Requests for further information and interviews with Jyri Häkämies from Mari Haavisto, Director, Communications and Responsibility, tel. +358 50 395 6135
Further information on vaccination: Riikka Heikinheimo, Director, tel. +358 46 922 9692
Further information on easing of restrictions: Markku Rajamäki, Chief Policy Adviser, tel. +358 40 553 9137