Norway’s health authority ‘ready’ for arrival of Covid-19 vaccine

Norway’s health authority 'ready' for arrival of Covid-19 vaccine
Photo: AFP
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has said it will be ready to commence a coronavirus vaccination programme as soon as vaccines are approved and available in the country.

One vaccine candidate that could be used by Norway, produced by company Moderna, could be ready in the first quarter of 2021, VG reports.

The European Commission on Wednesday signed an agreement with the company securing the purchase of an initial 80 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, increasing to 160 million, provided it receives approval from the European Medicines Agency.

Norway is part of the EU Commission’s procurement scheme, meaning it would receive a share of vaccines through the agreement.

EMA approval of a coronavirus vaccine would also give it automatic certification for use in Norway.

As such the national health authority, NIPH, must plan a vaccination programme ready for when the vaccine becomes available.

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“NIPH will be ready to manage vaccines when they arrive,” area director Geir Bukholm told VG.

“Moderna is assuming the first quarter (of 2021) and we will be ready for that. If the vaccine comes in January, we will be ready then,” he added.

In addition to the Moderna vaccine, two other candidates, from AstraZeneca/Oxford University and BioNTech/Pfizer, are nearing approval stage which would allow them to be used in Norway.

A Norwegian Covid-19 vaccination programme would prioritise specified groups initially.

“At the start, we should not expect to have a sufficient number of vaccines,” Bukholm said.

“That means that NIPH must recommend an order for who gets the vaccine, and when the recommended groups in the population are to be given it,” he said.


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