SHARE
COPY LINK

VACCINE

‘We must think ahead’: Norway mulls plan to vaccinate children

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said that it may be "relevant" to vaccinate children as several vaccine manufacturers are currently testing their vaccines on youngsters.

'We must think ahead': Norway mulls plan to vaccinate children
(Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

“The infection has increased among children and young people with these new virus variants. And it (the pandemic) is not completely over even when everyone over the age of 18 has been vaccinated. And we must think ahead as well, whether it will be relevant to vaccinate children,” specialist director at the NIPH, Frode Forland, told state broadcaster NRK.

“Now the vaccines must first be tested among children and young people. And that’s about to happen now,” he added.

Why it might be important for children to be vaccinated

Margrethe Greve-Isdahl is the chief physician at the department of infection control and vaccines at the NIPH. She says vaccinating children can be important for two reasons.

“One is for children with a higher risk of serious Covid-19 disease. The second reason is that vaccination may be necessary to create herd immunity in the population,” she said.

“To say something certain about this, you need a better overview of how good the vaccines have on the spread of infection. In addition, vaccination coverage in the rest of the population will also play a role”, said Greve-Isdahl.

Is it safe?

Several vaccine companies are currently testing their vaccines on children to find out whether they are safe for use.

Pfizer will apply for approval for use of the vaccine in the United States for those over 12.  The company says the vaccine could be used on children in the autumn.

Moderna and AstraZeneca, which is currently paused in Norway, are testing vaccines on children and Johnson & Johnson is planning to test its Jansen single dose vaccine on children too.

So far none of these vaccines have been approved for use in children under 16 anywhere. Vaccines in Norway are only approved for people over 18.

Greve-Isdahl believes that, based on evidence from other existing vaccines, children can receive the same vaccines as adults, but in a different dosage.

“It is very important to look at the studies that are being done now, precisely to clarify this side effect profile. Here we just have to wait for data to come,” she said.

When could children begin getting vaccinated in Norway?

Espen Nakstad, assistant director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, told newspaper Dagbladet that vaccines won’t be used on children in Norway until after the summer, at least.

Before being used on children in Norway, the vaccines will also need to apply for approval from the European Medicines Agency before the Norwegian Medicines Agency agrees to the use of vaccines on children.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

OSLO

EXPLAINED: What Oslo’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you

Most, but not all, of the Norwegian capital's local Covid restrictions have been lifted to fall in line with national coronavirus rules, with new limits on guests at home and new guidance on face masks. Here’s a rundown of what the latest restrictions mean for you.

EXPLAINED: What Oslo's easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you
Oslo's skyline. Photo by Oscar Daniel Rangel on Unsplash

Covid-19 measures in Oslo have been relaxed, with the majority of local restrictions being replaced with the looser national rules.

The new rules are a mix of steps three and four of the city’s five-step reopening plan and were introduced after the lowest infection numbers since last autumn were recorded in Oslo last week. 

Last week, 239 coronavirus infections were registered in the Norwegian capital. 

“The gradual, controlled opening of Oslo has been a success. Many of the rules that the people of Oslo have been expected to live with are now being removed, and we will essentially live with the same corona rules as people elsewhere in Norway,” Oslo’s Executive Mayor Raymond Johansen said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Not all local restrictions have been lifted however, meaning there are a mix of local and national rules in place. 

Below we’ll take a look at how the measures will affect everyday life in Oslo. 

At home 

The significant change here is that the ban on having more than ten people gathered at home has been lifted completely. Instead, this will be replaced with the national recommendation not to have more than guests. 

So while it will not be recommended to have more than ten guests, it’s not an enforceable rule anymore. 

READ MORE: What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway

Shopping 

The local rules for shopping malls and stores have been tweaked too. There will no longer be any rule that makes face masks mandatory in shops. In addition to this, the official social distancing measure has been halved, to one metre, and the limit on the number of people allowed in shops has been scrapped. 

However, it’s worth noting that some shops may wish to keep some infection control measures in place if they feel it helps keep staff and shoppers safe, so it may be worth bringing a mask along on your next trip to the shops just in case.

Face masks  

The rule on mandatory face masks in public has also been given the axe, with two exceptions. 

You will still need one if you are taking public transport or taking a taxi. 

Masks will no longer be needed in shops, gyms, museums and galleries, indoor swimming pools, spa facilities and hotel facilities such as pools and dining areas. 

Although, some places may still wish to continue with a mask policy, so always remember to have one handy to be sure. 

Hospitality 

At indoor public places, such as restaurants, 50 people are allowed in venues without fixed assigned seats and 200 people at events with set, assigned seats.

Outdoors, 200 people can gather in cohorts of three, meaning a potential venue of 600 for places with the space and capacity and where there is fixed designated seating.

Soon, when the government changes its rules for events, up to 5,000 people will be able to gather when there is a seating plan in place, provided venues aren’t operating above 50 percent capacity.  

Up to 20 people can book a table at a restaurant or bar when indoors and 30 people outdoors. 

Alcohol will now be able to be served until midnight rather than 10 pm, and this rule will stay in place until July 4th. The cut-off point will remain in place even if national rules change and allow alcohol to be served later. 

Sports, leisure and entertainment 

Bingo halls, bowling alleys, arcades, playgrounds can now reopen.

Oslo’s numbers cap on the people allowed in gyms, museums, galleries, and indoor pools has been lifted. 

Now, 20 people can work out, go for a swim, or take in some art indoors, and up to 30 can do so outdoors. 

Schools 

Restrictions for schools and kindergartens haven’t changed, however. 

This means that schools and kindergartens in Oslo will remain at yellow level. 

Yellow level means that full class sizes are allowed, but mixing between classes must be kept to a minimum. Yellow level also means increased cleaning and hygiene measures are also in place. 

You can read more about yellow level here

Adult education and university are at red level, which means digital learning where possible and minimal contact between students and teachers. 

You can read more on red level here

Work

People are still required to work from home where possible until July 4th. 

Executive mayor Johansen has previously said the home office would be one of the last pandemic measures to go, meaning it could be here for a while longer. 

SHOW COMMENTS