Norway to make coronavirus vaccine free for everyone

Norway to make coronavirus vaccine free for everyone
Illustration file photo. AFP
A vaccine against the coronavirus will be made freely available to everyone in Norway, the government has promised.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s government hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine will be ready to be offered to the population early in 2021, according to a government statement released on Tuesday.

Costs to local authorities and hospitals connected to a vaccination programme will all be covered by the state, according to the statement.

“We want as many people as possible to be offered a safe and effective vaccine. That’s why the vaccination will be free,” Solberg said.

“The primary objective of the government in its work with the vaccine is to be able to offer early vaccination to the entire adult population to reduce serious illness and death and prevent transmission of infections,” the PM added.

“When as many people as possible get vaccinated, that will also reduce the societal and social consequences of the pandemic,” she also said.

The government’s decision to make Covid-19 vaccination a national vaccination programme means that local authorities – municipalities – will be responsible for ensuring vaccination is offered to people living or staying in their administrative areas.

“The Norwegian Institute for Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health will ensure that vaccines and vaccination equipment will be distributed to municipalities and health centres. It is important for the costs to municipalities and hospitals to be covered in order to ensure prompt vaccination,” Minister of Health Bent Høie said in the statement.

Høie also underlined the importance of “a prioritisation of the first available vaccine doses”.

No vaccine for Covid-19 has been approved for general use at the current time and any schedule for a vaccination programme is therefore unknown.

The European Union currently has agreements with three potential vaccine suppliers and is in negotiations with others. Norway would secure supply via the EU through a resale agreement with Sweden, according to the government statement.

A total of 3.77 billion kroner is allocated in the 2021 budget proposal for procurement and distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine.

READ ALSO: How Norway plans to ensure supply of Covid-19 vaccine


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