It’s official: Norway removes AstraZeneca from vaccine program, keeps the use of Janssen vaccines paused

Solberg government corona press conferencePhoto: Annika Byrde / NTB

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been taken out from the Norwegian corona vaccination program. The government decided to uphold the pause in the use of the Janssen vaccine but has decided to allow its voluntary use. 

The Vorland Committee reviewed the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines on behalf of the government.

On Monday, the Committee issued a recommendation that Janssen’s corona vaccine should be taken out of the vaccination program but that people that fall under certain criteria should be allowed to take the vaccine. However, there was disagreement within the Committee about which criteria should apply.

The government has now decided that AstraZeneca will be permanently withdrawn from the vaccination program. At the same time, the use of the Janssen vaccine will remain paused for the time being. But unlike the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Janssen vaccine will be made available for voluntary use.

“Each individual must assess the risk”

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) has recommended not making the Janssen vaccine available for use outside the vaccination program. 

But the government has chosen to support the minority’s view in the Vorland committee that the individual is best able to assess his or her own situation and that each individual must determine whether the risk is acceptable.

“We will ask the Norwegian Directorate of Health to investigate how this can be done. The Directorate will be asked to look at which criteria should apply in that case, how information about risk should be provided, where the vaccine should be administered, and by whom. 

“If the Janssen vaccine is to be offered, it will be free, and those who receive it will be covered by the patient injury compensation scheme in the event of side effects,” Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) noted in a press release.

Contingency stock

An emergency stockpile of the Janssen vaccine will be built up while the government is considering how this vaccine can be offered voluntarily. 

Changed infection pressure, new virus variants, unforeseen problems with vaccine deliveries, and any new information about side effects could lead to changes.

Norway has ordered 3.77 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and now has about 72,000 doses in stock at the FHI. The storage period for this vaccine is up to two years.

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

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2 Comments on "It’s official: Norway removes AstraZeneca from vaccine program, keeps the use of Janssen vaccines paused"

  1. Caution is always the best policy, whether dealing directly with this killer virus or its vaccines.

    It takes time for any vaccine’s side effects and after effects to show themselves.

    Meanwhile, again, the health administrators and political leaders are pushed for time by the disease.

  2. This column just appeared on Washington Post:

    “As pediatricians, we say please don’t use precious coronavirus vaccines on healthy children,” Opinion by Adam Finn and Richard Malley

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