Norway launches new vaccination strategy, Oslo to receive more corona vaccines

Erna SolbergPhoto: Jil Yngland / NTB

In the future, corona vaccination will be aimed geographically to target areas with high infection pressure. This is good news for Norway’s hard-hit eastern municipalities and districts in Oslo.

The change is in line with the recommendation from the National Institute of Public Health (FHI).

Such a vaccine distribution means that some municipalities and districts in Oslo will receive 20% more vaccines than planned. These are areas that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“This applies to the districts of Stovner, Grorud, Bjerke, Alna, Old Oslo, and Søndre Nordstrand, as well as the municipalities of Lørenskog, Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad, and Moss,” Minister of Health Bent Høie said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In line with the FHI’s recommendations

The allocation will be covered from around 330 municipalities with the fewest hospital admissions – these municipalities will get 3% fewer vaccine doses.

“There will always be uncertainty associated with such calculations. The smaller the differences, the greater the uncertainty. But overall, the FHI now believes that the best professional recommendation they can give is to introduce a modestly skewed distribution,” Høie noted.

The Minister of Health emphasized that the distribution of vaccines is a professional issue. Therefore, the government chose to place great emphasis on the FHI’s recommendation.

Previous strategy

Up to Tuesday, Norway has had a strategy where the vaccines have been evenly distributed throughout Norway based on the number of inhabitants over the age of 65 in each municipality.

The main priority has been to vaccinate the part of the population with the greatest risk of serious illness and death. Nearly 90% of the nursing home residents have now been vaccinated.

However, in recent weeks, many have argued that the municipalities that have been hit the hardest over time should receive more vaccines through a so-called geographical skewed distribution.

The debate on the issue escalated after Molde Mayor Torgeir Dahl (H) criticized the Oslo City Council for its poor handling of the pandemic.

Distribution changes

In addition to a modestly skewed geographical distribution in the time ahead, the vaccines will also be distributed according to the number of inhabitants.

That will give municipalities with younger populations more doses than with the current distribution.

“The FHI already has the mandate to change the distribution key so that the vaccines can be distributed according to population, and not according to age. I expect that such a change can happen in a short time,” Høie added.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is now also considering whether the AstraZeneca vaccine can be given to people under 65 years of age.

Furthermore, the FHI is also looking into whether mRNA vaccines such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine can be taken at intervals longer than three weeks.

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

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