FHI: The geographically skewed distribution of vaccines could have occurred one month earlier

Geir BukholmPhoto: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

The geographically skewed distribution of vaccine doses to corona-exposed municipalities could have been implemented one month earlier, infection control director Geir Bukholm at the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) noted during the weekend.

Last week, the Norwegian government announced that the skewed distribution could have been implemented in week 23 at the earliest, i.e., around June 7.

However, the FHI issued a recommendation for the prioritization of places with a lot of infection in the vaccination process on April 26. If the government had decided quicker, the rollout could have taken place as early as week 19, i.e., May 10, Bukholm told newspaper VG.

“We could probably have done it from week 19 if there had been a quick decision, and we could have given quick notice to Pfizer so that they could change the deliveries,” Bukholm said, adding that in the long run, it could have helped to reopen the country earlier.

The Ministry of Health pointed out that the first recommendation from the FHI was a partial answer and that the FHI itself pointed out that the proposal had not been studied as thoroughly as normal.

Waiting for the final conclusion

“We received the final recommendation from the FHI on Monday. The government made a quick decision on the changes in the vaccination strategy, precisely because we are aware that this is urgent,” State Secretary Saliba Andreas Korkunc (H) told VG.

It has not yet been decided which municipalities will receive more doses. The decision will be made when the Ministry receives an answer on whether the municipalities can handle the changes, according to Korkunc.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has been instructed to consult with the municipalities as to whether they can handle a higher pace of vaccination in July to make up for the doses they lost in June.

“The government will quickly come back with a final conclusion when we have received the answer to whether the municipalities can handle the changes this may entail,” Korkunc concluded.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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