FHI: We don’t want drop-in corona vaccination for the second dose to spread now

Are Stuwitz BergPhoto: Berit Roald / NTB
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Last week, more than 40,000 vaccine doses were left unused in Norway. But the FHI believes the accumulation of unused vaccines is temporary.

“We are in a transitional phase,” chief physician Are Stuwitz Berg in the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) told news bureau NTB.

A number of Norwegian municipalities have now initiated drop-in vaccination because the refrigerators are being filled up with unused doses.

Just last week, about 265,000 new doses of Pfizer and Moderna were sent to the municipalities. But just over 220,000 doses were administered. Thus, the municipalities were left with an excess of over 40,000 doses.

Complex explanation

Berg believes the explanation is complex – and that the problems will probably not persist.

One factor is the holidays. But perhaps just as important is the fact that some municipalities are now approaching the end of vaccinating people with dose one.

“We do not think it is so strange that it goes a little slower toward the end,” Berg said.

He points out that younger people may be more difficult to reach, that some postpone the appointment, and that some also hesitate to take the vaccine. This means that it may take more time to use all the doses.

In addition, the FHI is now in the process of phasing out the geographically skewed distribution of vaccines.

Drop-in for dose two?

On Monday, the newspaper VG reported that some municipalities have also started with drop-in vaccination for dose two.

But according to the FHI, that should only happen as a last resort if the alternative is to throw away the doses.

“When municipalities now start to have a high degree of the population vaccinated with dose one, we ask them to inform us so that we can adjust the supply before we start with dose two. Then the doses can go to municipalities that have not come that far,” Berg said.

The FHI’s hope is that the drop-in for dose two will not be something that spreads.

“In the first instance, we must give the first dose to all. Then we start with dose two.”

Different for the fall

In the autumn, however, it may be different. 

“Up to now, the demand has been much greater than the supply. Then it has been important to have control and prioritize strictly,” he said.

“But as supply and demand level out, the rollout will probably be more flexible.”

The Pfizer vaccine can be stored for a whole month at normal refrigerator temperature without being damaged.

“Until now, it has been the case that almost everything that is sent out is administered the same week. But we will probably be able to see that some of the doses that are sent out in the future may not be administered until the following week,” Berg added.

According to the FHI’s latest vaccination calendar, it is estimated that everyone over the age of 18 will be offered the first dose of the vaccine by mid-August and the second dose by the second half of October.

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

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