The European Medicines Agency is expected to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine two days before Christmas, with Norway ready to begin distribution of the vaccine shortly after this.
“It is good news that the first approved coronavirus vaccine can arrive in Norway as soon as Christmas Eve,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.
“I think many are breathing a sigh of relief now. It depends on the approval, but there’s reason to believe the vaccine will be approved in Norway,” health minister Bent Høie said in the statement.
Norway will receive vaccines via Sweden, which has taken on the task of selling them to Norway on behalf of the EU.
The first delivery will consist of around 10,000 doses, NRK reports, which is enough to vaccinate 5,000 people given that two doses are required per person.
Following batches are expected to be significantly larger.
Because the initial supply will be small in number, it will not be split and delivered across the country, in part due to logistical challenges related to the cold temperature at which the Pfizer vaccine must be stored.
The first doses will therefore be restricted to the Oslo area.
This is also the part of Norway which has the highest infection rate. The vaccine has a short life span outside of ultra freezers and it is extremely important that no doses go to waste,” Høie said according to NRK.
An expert ethical committee has previously concluded that Norwegians in risk groups should be given first priority for the vaccine.
“Residents at care homes, the elderly and people with other health conditions must be vaccinated first. Then health personnel. After that, the rest of the population,” Høie said.