Norwegian Health Minister: The corona vaccine is a great victory for science and international cooperation

Bent HøiePhoto: Ørn E. Borgen / NTB

The coronavirus vaccine’s rapid production is no reason to stop strengthening pandemic preparedness in the future, Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) noted on Sunday.

Both Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) and the Minister of Health called the Pfizer vaccine “a great victory for science and international cooperation.” 

The first vaccine was administered in Norway on Sunday, and 67-year-old Svein Andersen at Ellingsrudhjemmet in Oslo had the honor of being the first Norwegian to receive the vaccine.

Høie believes it is historical that a vaccine was developed within a year after the virus was discovered. 

In the past, this has often taken longer.

“It also gives hope that it is part of our future preparedness. The new vaccine model on which this specific vaccine is based is also a vaccine model that gives hope that it will be faster to develop effective vaccines in the future,” Høie told news bureau NTB.

A new type of vaccine

Both the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which is being used in Norway now, and the Moderna vaccine, which is awaiting approval from the EU Medicines Agency EMA, are so-called mRNA vaccines, which work differently from traditional vaccines. 

They contain genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spike protein on the virus’s surface.

Despite the rapid development, Høie warns against being too dependent on mRNA vaccines.

“We must also strengthen pandemic preparedness based on the experiences we have gained through this pandemic,” the Minister of Health added.

He believes the situation has been handled significantly better than the Ebola epidemic in 2015. 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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