After a slow start during Christmas, the vaccination against COVID-19 started properly this week.
According to Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the real beginning of vaccination against the coronavirus in Norway starts on Monday.
And the pace will increase significantly going forward.
In the coming weeks, Norway will receive around 40,000 doses a week of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.
The first vaccine dose in Norway was administered on the second day of Christmas. 67-year-old Svein Andersen was the first Norwegian to get it.
But the start has been slow. Although around 45,000 vaccine doses have already arrived in Norway, only 2,113 vaccinated people were registered on Sunday.
In comparison, Denmark has given its first vaccine dose to over 40,000 people.
The National Institute of Public Health’s (FHI) director Camilla Stoltenberg believes there may be several reasons why the start has been somewhat slower in Norway.
Major geographical challenges in Norway are one factor.
In addition, Norway has chosen to keep enough vaccine to ensure two doses for everyone.
“Some countries have chosen not to do so, partly because they trust the companies to be able to deliver. And partly because they are in a more difficult situation, so it is even more urgent,” Stoltenberg told NTB.
She believes the differences between the countries will gradually level off.
“We expect that we will have a very efficient progress in the coming months.”
The municipalities needed time
Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie (H) admitted that it might have been possible to start faster in some places in the country.
But many municipalities have preferred to wait to have more time to plan, he explained.
“You want to implement this in a safe way. It is logistically demanding. I understand that the municipalities have chosen to say that they would start in a safe way tomorrow, rather than take a risk by starting a few days earlier,” Høie told NTB.
In any case, he believes that it is not the numbers in the first week that determine whether the vaccination is successful.
“It is the coming weeks that are important. And I perceive that the municipalities have good plans for implementation.”
In the long run, the goal is for Norway to get enough vaccines for the entire adult population.
And according to Solberg, the behavior of Norwegians will determine how long the shutdown will last.
The vaccination will not have an infection-limiting effect for a long time.
“If we manage to keep enough distance, then we can get out of this,” Solberg told NTB.
“But it takes time before we have vaccinated enough people.”
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today