Over-65s will be offered a third Covid-19 vaccine to boost their protection against coronavirus, Høie announced at a government briefing.
“The goal of offering a booster is to increase protection against serious illness. In addition, we hope that refreshing doses will provide extended protection and better protection against new variants,” Høie said.
The booster dose will be offered six months after their second jab for people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or after the same period after one jab of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine.
An mRNA vaccine, either Moderna or Pfizer, will be given to those who have had a Johnson & Johnson jab.
The government has also asked the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) to assess whether a third dose should be offered to healthcare workers under 65.
“The government has given an assignment to NIPH to assess booster vaccination in health personnel under the age of 65,” Høie said.
The Norwegian Nurses Association has previously requested that healthcare workers be offered the third dose.
NIPH will also assess whether it will offer a booster jab to people under 65.
The decision to offer a booster dose in Norway comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that its human medicines committee (CHMP) concluded that an extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer) may be given to all over-18s.
Director of infection control at the NIPH, Geir Bukholm, said that Norway had been waiting on the EMA’s decision before deciding to press ahead with boosters.
“EMA approved Pfizer yesterday, and this is a seal of quality to take into account,” Bukholm said.
The government expects to begin administering booster shots at the turn of the month. The order of who will receive a booster will be the same as when the vaccination program began starting with people aged over 85 and those in nursing homes.