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NORWAY

Danish TV: During Sochi, ‘we’re all Swedish’

Denmark's national TV channel has instructed viewers to cheer for Swedish athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next week, in a move likely to have irked some of their Norwegian neighbours.

Danish TV: During Sochi, 'we're all Swedish'
Denmark's team at the opening ceremony for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, before going on to take home no medals: Photo: Jude Freeman
At the end of a promotional video for the channel's Olympics coverage, the narrator's voice concludes: "And for the next couple of weeks, we are all Swedish." 
 
Nanna Bernth, DR's creative director, said the channel had decided to side with the Swedes simply because they were less likely to do well. 
 
"The Swedes need it more than you," she told VG newspaper. "Since the Norwegians are so good, we thought we'd lean a little to the Swedish side to get the feeling of being part of the Olympic fun."
 
She acknowledged that the Danes, whose inept skiers are a often mocked on the slopes of Sweden and Norway, could not expect to see much success. 
 
"We are very aware that we are not so good at winter sports," she said. "Our Swedish neighbours are substantially better and therefore we are supporting them." 
 

Sjur Molven, executive editor for sports at Norway's NRK channel, said he had "no trouble" with the Danish decision. 
 
"It's always nice to support the underdog," he said. "I can see why the Danish might be interested in supporting our fellow Scandinavians this time round, because Norway has been dominating to a degree that people find troublesome." 
 
"Even though I hope for Norwegian medals, it wouldn't be a disadvantage to the sport if they were spread out more evenly. In the long run it's not good if one country wins too many medals." 
 
The last time Denmark won a medal in the Winter Olympics was in 1998, when the women's curling team took silver. 
 

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NORWAY

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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