One and a half months have passed since the first jab of a Covid-19 vaccine was administered in Norway. Since then, data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) shows that nearly 240,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while nearly 74,000 have received the second dose.
Norway has chosen to pursue a strategy where elderly people and some selected health care workers have been given the vaccine first. And health authorities believe this is the reason why Norway is now seeing fewer Covid-19 related deaths and hospital admissions.
But when can other groups expect to receive their first jab of the vaccine and what rules apply for foreign nationals?
All residents in Norway, regardless of whether they are foreign nationals, are included in the government’s coronavirus vaccination strategy, according to NIPH.
The vaccine is free and voluntary for everyone who lives in Norway.
Municipalities have the responsibility for vaccinating their populations, including temporary residents. Information about vaccinations should be available on your municipality’s website.
The government’s strategy is based on five goals for the vaccine programme, ordered by level of importance:
- Reducing risk of death,
- Reducing risk of severe illness,
- Ensuring continued operation of essential services and crucial infrastructure,
- Protecting the labour force and economy,
- Easing restrictions and opening society.
After the oldest residents, the government has therefore chosen to prioritise people with other medical conditions that make them vulnerable to severe illness and death.
This is the current order of Norway’s vaccine queue:
- Care home residents and some health care workers,
- People over 85 years old and some health care workers,
- People between 75 and 84 years old,
- People between 65 and 74 years old and people between 18 and 64 years old with severe medical conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness,
- People between 55 and 64 years old with underlying medical conditions,
- People between 45 and 54 years old with underlying medical conditions,
- People between 18 and 44 years old with underlying medical conditions,
- People between 55 and 64 years old,
- People between 45 and 54 years old,
- Rest of adult population.
NIPH has published several scenarios for when they believe the population will be offered the vaccine. In their moderate scenario, they expect the majority of the population to have been vaccinated by late summer.
Care home residents, the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, however, can expect to be vaccinated during spring. Healthy people between the ages of 18 and 64, meanwhile, may have to wait until the autumn.
But the situation remains uncertain and the rate of vaccinations depend on a number of factors, including how quickly Norway receives vaccine doses. Vaccine producer Moderna last week announced that its delivery to Norway was delayed by a week, and that the number of doses was halved from 43,000 to 21,600.
“I think we have to get use to the fact that vaccine deliveries will be unpredictable during the next few months,” Assistant Director Espen Rostrup Nakstad at the Norwegian Directorate of Health told newspaper Dagbladet.