FOR MEMBERS

Everything you need to know about Covid-19 vaccinations in Norway

Everything you need to know about Covid-19 vaccinations in Norway
Illustration photo: DENIS LOVROVIC / AFP
When will I get my vaccine? Where can I get it and how? Those are some of the many questions people have regarding the administration and process of getting their Covid-19 jab. Here is an overview of the most important facts regarding Norway’s vaccination strategy.

Why vaccinate?

The Covid-19 vaccines assist the body in developing immunity to the virus that causes Covid-19. Different vaccines work in different ways to offer this protection, but with all the vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus in the future should you get it, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) has developed five aims for vaccinations ranked by priority:

  1. Reduce the risk of death. 
  2. Reduce the risk of serious illness.
  3. Preserve and protect essential services and critical infrastructure.
  4. Protect jobs and the economy.
  5. Re-open society. 

It is however, completely voluntary and you have informed choice, meaning you have the right to know about reported side effects.

When are people vaccinated?

The question most people ask is when they will be eligible to receive the vaccine. In Norway this is determined by the Ministry of Health and NIPH’s priority list. When you are vaccinated also depends on whether the new doses arrive on time. Here is a overview:

  1. Residents in nursing homes.
  2. Citizens over the age of 85.
  3. Citizens aged 75-84.
  4. Citizens aged 65-74, in addition to people aged 18-64 with underlying health conditions or who are at high risk of developing severe symptoms. 
  5. Citizens aged 55-64 with underlying health conditions. 
  6. Citizens aged 45-54 with underlying health conditions. 
  7. Citizens aged 55-64.
  8. Citizens aged 45-54.
  9. Youth aged 16-17.

Health personnel are prioritised alongside people with underlying health conditions. Up to 20% of available vaccines in each municipality can be given to health personnel, as reported by newspaper VG. Due to the recent change in the vaccination strategy some Municipalities are having to give away 3% of their vaccines to areas with higher transmission, such as Oslo, Moss and Fredrikstad. It is still not decided how or when the vaccine will be administered to healthy persons aged 18-44.

What persons are considered to be “at risk”?

According to NIPH people with the following illnesses/conditions are considered “at risk”:

  • People with organ transplants. 
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Hematologic (blood) cancer in the last 5 years*
  • Other active cancer, ongoing or recently finished treatment for cancer (especially immunosuppressive therapy, radiation therapy to the lungs or chemotherapy) 
  • Neurological or muscular disease with impaired coughing strength or lung function (e.g., ALS, Downs Syndrome) 
  • Chronic kidney disease or significantly impaired renal function
  • Chronic liver disease or significantly impaired liver function 
  • Immunosuppressive therapy, e.g. with autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes  
  • Chronic lung disease, including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma that has required the use of high-dose inhaled steroids or steroid tablets during the last year
  • Obesity with body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 35 kg/m2 or higher
  • Dementia 
  • Chronic cardiovascular disease (except high blood pressure)
  • Stroke

Some other serious diseases can increase the risk of serious infection of Covid-19, but in these cases vaccination is determined by the individual doctor. Currently, people considered ‘at risk’ will receive the mRNA-vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.

Where to get the vaccine

The vaccines are administered locally, and each municipality decides how they want to administer vaccination. Local doctors and GPs are in charge of identifying people at risk. You can find information on your municipality’s website about how the vaccine will be administered in your local community and when you are eligible. 

Cost of vaccination

The government has decided that vaccination in the Coronavirus Immunisation Programme is free for everyone in recommended groups who are living in Norway, including foreign nationals. 

How to sign up for vaccination
You will be contacted by the municipality or your doctor when it’s your turn to get your vaccine. Check updated information on your municipality’s website. Do not show up if you are feeling unwell, are in quarantine or awaiting coronavirus test result, it’s been less than three weeks since you ended your isolation period after having Covid-19, you are pregnant or do not belong to a risk group.

What vaccines are being used?

In Norway currently, three vaccines have been approved for use; the mRNA vaccines Comirnaty by BioNTech and Pfizer, and Moderna, and the viral vector vaccine by AstraZeneca (currently only available to those under the age of 65). 

Before vaccination

Before you receive the vaccine, you will be asked if you are feeling well and if you have had any reactions to previous vaccines. Remember to disclose if you are pregnant, have any allergies, use medication or have other health problems.

How is the vaccine given?

The vaccine is injected into the upper arm. A second dose will be given after an interval of a few weeks. 

After vaccination

After receiving your vaccine, you will be asked to wait 20 minutes in case you experience any reactions. All personnel administering the vaccine have been trained, and necessary medication will be available to treat possible allergic reactions, according to NIPH. If you experience any unusual, severe or prolonged symptoms, contact your doctor or another healthcare worker for assessment and advice. 

Delays with taking the second dose

For optimal protection you need two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to developers such as Pfizer-BioNTech. It is therefore important that you take the second dose at the scheduled time. If something unforeseen happens, inform the vaccination site as soon as possible to arrange a new appointment. 

Do I still have to follow restrictions after being vaccinated?

Yes you do. According to Oslo Municipality, studies have shown that while the vaccine protects against the receiver getting symptoms of Covid-19, it is still unclear how well it protects against asymptomatic Covid-19 infections, which means that people could still infect others despite being vaccinated themselves. 

READ ALSO: When can you expect to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Norway?


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.